Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
What century are we living in? For the second time (Governor Jan Brewer vetoed this bill last year) the Tea-Publicans in the Arizona Senate have passed the religious bigotry bill, which would allow individuals and businesses to deny public services based upon their "sincerely held religious beliefs." This is state-sanctioned segregation, pure and simple.
The Arizona Republic reports, AZ Senate OKs bill boosting service refusal:
The Arizona Senate on Wednesday passed a bill backed by Republicans that expands the rights of people to assert their religious beliefs in refusing service to gays and others, a measure Democrats say will open the doors for discrimination and hurt the state economy.
The bill passed on a 17-13 party-line vote.
Democrats and civil rights groups opposed the bill that was pushed by social conservatives, saying it would allow discriminatory actions by businesses.
Democrats sponsored eight hostile amendments in an effort to sidetrack the legislation, but they were steadily rejected by Republicans who control the Senate.
Democrats repeatedly said they believed Yarbrough’s legislation was clearly designed to allow discrimination.
“The heart of this bill would allow for discrimination versus gays and lesbians,” said Sen. Steve Gallardo, D-Phoenix. “You can’t argue the fact that bill will invite discrimination. That’s the point of this bill. It is.”
Sen. Steve Farley, D-Tucson, warned of economic consequences if the Legislature passed the bill and it is signed by Republican Gov. Jan Brewer. He said companies would begin to avoid Arizona, as they did after the state passed its signature immigration crackdown law, SB1070, in 2010.
“I think this bill makes a statement … that we don’t welcome people here,” Farley said. “This bill gets in the way, this bill sends the wrong message around the country and around the world.”
A similar bill is making its way through the Arizona House and could come up for floor debate any day.
The proposals are backed by the powerful Center for Arizona Policy, a social conservative group that backs anti-abortion and conservative Christian legislation in the state.
The bill is similar to a proposal last year brought by Yarbrough but vetoed by Brewer. That legislation would have allowed people or religious groups to sue if they believed they might be subject to a government regulation that infringed on their religious rights. Yarbrough stripped a provision from the bill in hopes Brewer will embrace the new version.
As i have explained previously, this bill would permit more than "hatin' on the gays" by religious bigots. The language of Yarbrough's bill will allow for discrimination on the basis of race, national origin, sex and religion in public accommodations simply by invoking the "magic words" that it is "my sincerely held religious beliefs." He is proposing a "get out of jail free card" for compliance with civil rights laws based upon the mere assertion of "sincerely held religious beliefs." Howie Fischer reported, Religious belief would permit discrimination under proposed bill:
A state state lawmaker is pushing legislation that would allow businesses to discriminate against gays — and maybe even women and Jews — as long as they were acting on sincerely held religious beliefs.
SB 1062 (.pdf) would allow those sued in civil cases to claim that they have a legal right to decide not to provide their services to any individual or group because it would “substantially burden” their freedom of religion. And that specifically means doing something that the person feels is contrary to their religious teachings.
This is a "get out of jail free card" for compliance with the public accommodations provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, and the Arizona Civil Rights Act, as amended. Since religion is defined under his bill as an individual's "sincerely held religious beliefs" rather than that of a religious institution -- and the government cannot discriminate among religious beliefs under the First Amendment -- an individual's "sincerely held religious beliefs" that he or she may discriminate against persons of other religious faiths, or another race, ethnic origin, or sex would be permissible. Such a "get out of jail free card" for compliance with laws based upon the mere assertion of "sincerely held religious beliefs" leads to anarchy.
This is the 21st Century, do we really want to return to the dark ages of American Apartheid by giving religious bigots such as Sen. Yarbrough a "get out of jail free card" for compliance with laws based upon the mere assertion of "sincerely held religious beliefs"?
This is a failure of the "Mythical Moderate Republicans" in the Republican Party establishment and the business community, in particular, the chamber organizations. If the GOP establishment business community cannot prevent a bill that endorses state-sanctioned segregation and makes Arizona a pariah state, they are useless to stop the insanity of the far-right radicals and extremists.
Not one of these Tea-Publicans should ever be elected to office. Kick 'em all out!