Before we even get to their points: The concept that "we anticipate no costs" counts Arizona as the first state to not calculate cost to the attorney general in defending a bill in court. Arizona will likely find this not to be true, and more importantly, the cost will not be $0.
(1) Expands the definition of exercise of religion to specifically include both the practice and observance of religion.
Both the practice and observance. Hmm... this makes their second point interesting..
(2) Expands the definition of person to include any individual, association, partnership, corporation, church, estate, trust, foundation or other legal entity..
I may be an atheist/agnostic now, but I grew up Catholic. I can't remember any corporations filling the pews observing the faith. Do you remember that? Just checking, because the last time I checked, I didn't see a cash register receive communion. I could be wrong on this. Besides which, I don't think there is a procedure to baptize a LLC. If there is, I sure missed out on that, it would have been a blast to see Monsignor Lampee try to dunk it.
(3) Changes the terminology within the prohibition of burdening a person’s exercise of religion to apply to state action instead of government.
This may be one of the more confusing sentences I've ever read. Help? Ditto to 4.
But it is this one liner that makes the Arizona legislation indefensible:
5. Specifies that a free exercise of religion claim or defense may be asserted in a judicial proceeding regardless of whether the government is a party to the proceeding.
This is the legislation in question: http://www.azleg.gov/...
Please note, the legislation never directly mentions gay rights, it never directly mentions anything except: The state shall be prohibited, and you cannot be sued, for the practice of any faith.
This sounds fitting, yes? The legislation hits it's stride right here:
9. "Unreasonable burden" means that a person is prevented from using
42 the person's property in a manner that the person finds satisfactory to
43 fulfill the person's religious mission.
That's right. Your place of business is now a church. Or a mission, of sorts, and any infringement on your right to use it to practice your faith is prohibited. This is the heart of the argument. Your business = Your Church.
By this standard, and by previous statements that the state cannot infringe on you practicing or observing your religious beliefs at your place of business, I'm wondering:
Will non-Reform mormons demand polygamy be respected in their businesses which are now churches? After all, the state can't infringe on their rights in their own store/church?
Can you freely slaughter live animals to make charms and trinkets to worship more anamalistic deities?
I know, these extensions sound ridiculous. Maybe the author of the legislation thinks they are too.
Yarbrough said it’s possible that, under the terms of his legislation a hotel owner could turn away a gay couple without fear of suit simply because there are other nearby facilities.
“It’s a fact-intensive question in those instances when you’ve got the preference that we’ve got for public accommodation and the First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion,” he said. “How does the friction play out?”
Conversely, Yarbrough said the answer might be different if that were the only hotel in town.
This isn’t the first time Arizona lawmakers have considered measures to allow freedom of religion trumps customer rights.
Most notably is a law which permits pharmacists, who are licensed by the state, to refuse on religious or moral grounds to dispense the “morning after” pill designed to block pregnancy following unprotected sex. Yarbrough said a pharmacist who is a devout Catholic should not be forced to be a part of what he or she believes is someone’s immoral act.
Wait, so the author of the bill also agrees it's a slippery slope that does things like bolsters the right of pharmacists not to sell drugs and hotels from refusing to take customers who are gay. You can just shut them out.
Again, though Republicans retreat to the phallacy (pun intended, yes, I ignored the squiggly red lines for the joke, shoot me): "But it protects the photographer who doesn't want to go to a gay wedding". I'm wondering who feeds this to them, because this has been said repeatedly in Kansas, Tennessee, Idaho.. Going TO a location as a contractor is AT WILL employment. You can turn down any customer you want. It is NOT the same as having an open to the public storefront. There is a HUGE codified difference in the law already. People who are at will employment cannot be compelled to take jobs because they book jobs and refuse on a job by job basis, it's not the same thing as a place you walk into and rent a hotel room or buy an item sold there (like a cake). The continued bringing of a red herring up just tells me no one involved really recognizes what the law actually is.
A challenge to the 2009 law as approved failed. But Yarbrough said that he could foresee situations in which the case might be a closer call, as in examples as the photographer and the hotel.
“If he’s the only pharmacy in Bisbee, you may have a problem,” he said. But Yarbrough said the outcome would be different “if there are two more down the road and Target does this and there’s no issue, and he knows that you can go there.”
“And, of course, if he’s at all smart, is probably going to say, ‘And by the way, two blocks down the road is a Target and they have a pharmacy,’” Yarbrough said.
Glad to know in every city in Yarbrough's mind there are tons of Target pharmacies and that there is no chance rural communities could ever use this kind of legislation to shun or blackball people.
Except in Bisbee. Because, you know, fuck Bisbee.
Thu Feb 20, 2014 at 7:55 AM PT: Update with a minor question: If by state law, a business is now to be treated as a person, could it be arrested for littering?
Comments are closed on this story.