Saturday, February 22, 2014

Arizona SB 1062 - Gay Discrimination and More

Arizona SB 1062 a.k.a the Gay Discrimination bill, redefines the exercise of religion as:
"... the PRACTICE OR OBSERVANCE OF RELIGION, INCLUDING THE ability to act or refusal to act in a manner substantially motivated by a religious belief, whether or not the exercise is compulsory or central to a larger system of religious belief."
How does that not sanction religiously motivated murder? Or any other action as long as you can claim religious motivation? 

Well, they appear to have a bit of an escape clause in Section 2C: 
STATE ACTION may substantially burden a person's exercise of religion only if it THE OPPOSING PARTY demonstrates that application of the burden to the person PERSON'S EXERCISE OF RELIGION IN THIS PARTICULAR INSTANCE is both:
1. In furtherance of a compelling governmental interest.
2. The least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.
Well good, I hope it is in the state's interest to prevent murder! But what about if I want to renege on a deal once I find out that the other party is gay? Is that in the state's interest? How about refusing to serve a person of a different race at a place of business because your religion says that is ok? How far do we go with this?

In reality, what this bill does is place the interests of the state (or lack thereof) smack dab in the crosshairs of religion. This is what happens when government starts taking sides on the topic of religion. It never ends well.

Fortunately, we have the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution:

"...nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

I really doubt this law is going to stand up to a constitutional challenge, as your exercise of religious liberty ends when it infringes on the "life, liberty, or property" of another - which SB 1062 very clearly sanctions.