Breaking – Arizona Religious Freedom Law Vetoed by Gov. Brewer
Late Wednesday evening Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed Senate bill 1062 that would have expanded and clarified protection for individuals and businesses over their religious rights.
Recently, the Arizona legislature passed some reforms to the state's Religious Freedoms Restoration Act that would offer a broader protection for certain businesses and individuals to exercise their religious rights when it comes to services rendered.
Part of the momentum behind the bill was a slew of lawsuits across the country filed against individuals, businesses and even some religious organizations who refused to offer service to same-sex couples due to their religious beliefs. This would include the Arlene's Flowers of Richland case.
According to analysis by ChristianPost.com while the bill expands and clarifies who is covered and how they exercise their beliefs, it actually places more burden of proof on that person or business. So it does expand protection, but at the same time, the argument had better be justifiable. It removes the ability of such person to "make up" a religion or outlandish belief just so they can refuse service to anyone they wish. From Christian Post:
- Those covered by RFRA would include "any individual, association, partnership, corporation, church, religious assembly or institution or other business organization."
- A religious freedom violation can be asserted "regardless of whether the government is a party to the proceeding."
- The person asserting a religious freedom violation must show three things: "1. That the person's action or refusal to act is motivated by a religious belief. 2. That the person's religious belief is sincerely held. 3. That the state action substantially burdens the exercise of the person's religious beliefs." (Italics added for emphasis).
Here's where the NFL and Super Bowl comes in. Opponents of these revisions claim they will allow virtually anyone to refuse service to gays and same-sex couples. The Washington Examiner reports the NFL released a statement about the matter, that reads very much like they don't agree with the plan. According to The Examiner:
“Our policies emphasize tolerance and inclusiveness and prohibit discrimination based on age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation or any other improper standard,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told USA Today. “We are following the issue in Arizona and will continue to do so should the bill be signed into law, but will decline further comment at this time.”
The Arizona Super Bowl Host committee has issued an even stronger statement than the NFL saying they completely oppose the revisions. Will it mean the NFL pulls the championship game from Glendale's University of Phoenix Stadium? Only time will tell.
University of Phoenix Stadium has hosted the Super Bowl in the past, and has been the home of numerous NCAA BCS College football bowl games, most recently the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl between Central Florida and Baylor earlier this year.
NEW BREAKING INFORMATION: From azcentral.com:
“Senate Bill 1062 ... could divide Arizona in ways we cannot even imagine and no one would ever want,” she told the room packed with journalists from around the country. “Let’s turn the ugliness of the debate over Senate Bill 1062 into a renewed search for greater respect and understanding among all Arizonans and Americans.”
SB 1062 would have offered a legal defense for individuals and businesses facing discrimination lawsuits if they proved they had acted on a “sincerely held religious belief.” Opponents argued it would legalize discrimination, in particular, allowing businesses to refuse to serve the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community."
Do you believe Gov. Brewer caved, or did she veto a bill that offered no real additional protection and didn't clarify the issue of discrimination vs. religious freedom?