The Arizona Bill Doesn’t Say What You Think It Says
Not that it should be a surprise, but the media is calling Arizona’s 1062 Bill “Anti-Gay”, discrimination, a return back to Jim Crow and other such nonsense. The bill isn’t any such thing. The legislation that passed does one thing and one thing only. It expands who gets covered under religious liberty claims under the law in terms of lawsuits.
Today the law in Arizona the law only covers you if somehow the government is involved in the preceding. This expands it so if a private business or a church gets sued they can claim they are exercising their religious free will.
Section 41-1493 of the Arizona Revised Statutes regulates who can claim religious freedom or exercise thereof as a defense in a lawsuit.
Senate bill 1062 revises that law by expanding the definition of who is a person to “any individual, association, partnership, corporation, church, religious assembly or institution, estate, trust, foundation or other legal entity”, and allows for religious-freedom lawsuits “regardless of whether the government is a party to the proceeding.
Nowhere in this legislation does it say that you can hang a sign in your storefront refusing service. It simply allows a business owner or a church to claim that they are exercising their right to their religious beliefs and a judge can’t throw that out as a non-defense. It will be allowed to be heard by a jury and they get to decide if that defense has merit or not.
People behave as if somehow the rights of one person automatically trumps the rights of another. They don’t. Rights are given to all people. There is no doubt that gay marriage is a topic that is virtually impossible to bridge the deep divides. But lets say for instance a person who is divorced by no desire of their own. Their spouse packed up and left after deciding they didn’t want to be married anymore. Most states today have no fault divorces so it is very likely that can just file and be divorced in relatively short order. The spouse that was left is a practicing Catholic. Over time they rebuild their lives and meet someone new. They decide they want to get married again. By Catholic doctrine they cannot be married in the church. Should they be able to sue under the grounds they are being discriminated against because they are divorced? Shouldn’t the Catholic Church be able to walk into a courtroom and say this goes against their teaching and doctrines without being labeled bigot?
I, for the life of me, can’t figure out why a couple would want to force a business to work with them when they don’t want to. Especially for something as important as a wedding. This is a day that to a Christian is a sacrosanct covenant with God. You are not just making that vow to each other, but you are making that vow to God himself. You can disagree with that premise all you like. It doesn’t make it less relevant or real to a person who takes that seriously.
We have already seen a business taken to court for not wanting to participate in something they view as sinful. A lawsuit is being filed in England right now to force the Church of England to perform Gay Marriages even the law has put in protections to guard that from happening. We all know all too clearly what happens when a person speaks up about their religious beliefs that gay marriage is sinful. They get called a bigot. It never occurs to the person doing that name calling that they may be the ones who are bigots. That they are the ones forcing another to go against deeply held beliefs and trying to force them to accept their choice to get married to someone of the same-sex. No it is just the other way around. It is just the Christian who is the bigot. It is never anyone else.
I am not saying that the whole “agree to disagree” is something that is simple. But it isn’t as complicated as some make it sound when it comes to a baker, a photographer, a florist, or any other vendor that someone may use to celebrate their wedding day. It is going to be a rare case indeed that another vendor that is more than happy to work with the couple isn’t available and the only option is the one that feels this strongly about it. Why would want to give your money to someone who is being forced to work with you? Have you ever thought about what they could put in that cake? I say that jokingly of course, but it could happen.
A business in a free market society should be allowed to decide for themselves who they work with and who they don’t. The consumers can then make their choices and decide if they want to give their money to a business who adheres to certain practices. I certainly would never go to restaurant that hung a sign saying they wouldn’t do business with a group of people for reasons such as skin color, religious background, or heritage. I will take my money elsewhere. That is the power that I possess. Nor is that even a relevant issue when it comes to this piece of legislation.
A jury will get decide. This law doesn’t guarantee they will win, only that they will be heard. One would think that gay activists would be happy to put this into a court of law. They have done so many, many times over the past decade to force their will onto others. Why are they upset about this? This piece of legislation just took a page out of their playbook.