Arizona Hub

Objections to Arizona's Anti-Gay Bill Were 'Poorly Informed Indignation' Says 'National Review' Editor: VIDEO


Cokie Roberts, Van Jones, and the panel on ABC News' This Week took a look back at this week's controversy over Arizona's anti-gay bill, and Jan Brewer's veto, which Rich Lowry of the National Review thought was wrong.

Said Lowry:

If you get to the facts of this, the law was the subject of a tsunami of poorly informed indignation. It was two minor changes to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in Arizona, which has been on the books for 15 years, was modeled on a federal law, championed by Ted Kennedy, signed by Bill Clinton. And all it says is that if you're going to substantially burden someone's exercise of their religion, there has to be a compelling governmental interest at stake...

...It's different than the situation in the Jim Crow south where you had state sanctioned system of discrimination that was flatly unconstitutional. And there was a governmental interest in ensuring that African Americans could travel in the south, which you couldn't do -- if no hotel and no restaurant would serve you.

In this case, the wedding industry is not bristling with hostility to gay people. You're dealing with the occasional baker or florist who has a genuine conscientious objection. And if they do, you can find another baker or florist.

Responded Jones to Lowry's points:

You can't -- look, if you want to be a bigot on your own time, that's fine. But if you want to extend that to your LLC, to your business that you own and hold out for public, you can't point to god to excuse your bigotry.


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Arizona Has Another Anti-Gay Bill Brewing

Now that the dust has settled from the demise of SB 1062, attention is turning to another bill pending in the state's legislature, The Republic reports:

Gayban_arizonaHouse Bill 2481, which has advanced on mostly party-line committee votes and is awaiting a debate by the full House of Representatives, would prevent government from requiring ordained clergy and judges to “solemnize a marriage that is inconsistent with the minister’s sincerely held religious beliefs.”

The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Steve Montenegro, R-Litchfield Park, is narrower than SB 1062, which would have offered a legal defense for individuals and businesses facing discrimination lawsuits if they could have proved they acted upon a “sincerely held religious belief.”

Montenegro is an assistant pastor who says that he introduced the legislation because of cases in which churches in New Jersey and England were sued for refusing to perform gay weddings.

While troubling, it's not the religious institution aspect of the bill that's drawing the attention here but another part of it:

The Anti-Defamation League has spoken against a provision that would extend the right to refuse to conduct ceremonies to judges, justices of the peace and clerks who perform them.

Religious officials are already exempt from lawsuits filed by people who feel they were wrongly denied marriage services, said Tracey Stewart, assistant regional director for the Anti- Defamation League. But judges and other civil servants are not men of the cloth, she said.

“Those are usually individuals who are employed by government,” Stewart said. Part of their public service as a government official extends to performing civil, not religious, marriage ceremonies, she said.

Tempe, Arizona Approves LGBT Anti-Discrimination Ordinance


Tempe, Arizona has passed an LGBT anti-discrimination ordinance, the Arizona Republic reports:

In interviews with The Arizona Republic, Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell and other council members said the GOP-controlled Legislature is out of touch with its constituents.

The council’s 7-0 vote was “another action that shows we don’t discriminate in our community,” Mitchell said Thursday. “We’re moving in the right direction in terms of equality.”

The city ordinance bans discrimination in housing, employment and accommodations at restaurants and hotels, but includes exceptions for religious organizations and social clubs.

Businesses or individuals that discriminate in Tempe on the basis of gender identity, sexual orientation, race, color, gender, religion, national origin, familial status, age, disability and U.S. military veteran status face a civil sanction with a fine up to $2,500.

Three other Arizona cities - Phoenix, Tucson, and Flagstaff - have similar laws.

FOX News Wingbot Wonders Why Gays Don't Just Go Do Business Where They're Accepted: VIDEO


Reacting to the controversy over Arizona's SB 1062, Fox News host Shannon Bream asks Bernie Goldberg why gays just don't go do business with someone who wants to serve them rather than stand up for their right to be served:

"This is America. We all have freedoms. Why would you want to do business with somebody - no matter what your personal issue was that they had with you - why would you want to force them to do business with you? Why not just go down the street and say I'm going to spend my money with somebody who supports me, and is kind to me, and wants to help me and provide these services for me?"

Goldberg tries to reason with Bream by using the example of a woman in a similar situation and then explains that the African-American civil rights movement began by people standing up for themselves.

Bream counters with — some African-Americans are not happy because they claim that gays are co-opting the civil rights movement.

Then, when Goldberg tries to explain that he disagrees with that sentiment, she cuts him off and goes to commercial! Goldberg is not amused.


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Stephen Colbert Was Forced to Frost a Gay Cake Last Night Because of Jan Brewer's Veto: VIDEO


Stephen Colbert is now forced to frost a cake for a gay wedding because of Jan Brewer's SB 1062 veto and he's not happy he can no longer deny sodomites pastry. He is also finding gay orgies in grilled cheese sandwiches, but we'll let him explain.


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Rachel Maddow on the Arizona Anti-Gay Bill Veto and Similar Measures Elsewhere: VIDEO


Last night, Rachel Maddow addressed Jan Brewer's veto of Arizona's anti-gay 'religious freedom'/segregation bill and noted that since Arizona's bill has been getting so much attention, similar bills in other states have either been shelved or put on hold.


Rachel mentions the Mississippi bill which we mentioned yesterday, noting that the bill had been stripped of many of its provisions.

MississippiDeep South Progressive, however, insists that the ugly parts of the bill still remain:

Those key parts of the bill, which LGBT activists feared would legitimize discrimination by businesses that claim “sincerely held religious belief” as the motivating factor, remain unchanged. That’s contrary to previous reports that said the bill had been amended to only include the section that would add “In God We Trust” to the Mississippi state seal.

Despite that, leaders of the state business community were declaring victory Wednesday night, saying that the bill addressed the concerns of the business community. The Mississippi Economic Council (MEC), said that SB 2681, as amended, “provides both positive clarification and focused direction so that the amended bill addresses only actions by government, not private businesses or individuals.”

Mississippi is obviously one to keep an eye on.

CNN yesterday ran a list of other states with similar measures and the status of each.

2_brewerAnd finally, Michelangelo Signorile has some important notes on Arizona, et al:

But let's not forget that in Arizona, it's still legal to refuse to serve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in your bakery or your photo studio for religious or any other reasons, due in no small part to Jan Brewer's hostility to LGBT rights throughout her tenure. It's legal for a landlord in Arizona to turn away LGBT people. Except in a few Arizona cities with employment protections, it's also legal for an employer to fire someone simply for being queer...

...The backlash against this bill should also be a lesson for national LGBT groups that supported ENDA with dangerous religious exemptions: It looks hypocritical and wrongheaded to support a federal employment nondiscrimination bill that gives exemptions in hiring to some businesses, like hospitals run by religious entities, only to condemn a state bill that, in the name of "religious freedom," seeks to exempt businesses from having to serve gays. Could that be one reason that some major LGBT groups were oddly silent when the Arizona bill was passed last week?

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