Religious Freedom Bill - Protecting The Faithful or Legalized Discrimination?After a much heated national debate, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoed the controversial bill that would have allowed people and businesses in the state to refuse services to LBGT people based on their religious belief.
Brewer wrote in a letter to the Arizona State Senate her reasons for vetoing the bill, she wrote: "Senate Bill 1062 does not address a specific and present concern related to religious liberty in Arizona. I have not heard of one example in Arizona where a business ownerâ€™s religious liberty has been violated. The bill is broadly worded and could result in unintended and negative consequences." The letter went on to explain how the bill could potentially hurt the economy in the state.
Public outcry against the bill didn\'t stay within the state boundaries of Arizona. The debate grew into a national discussion. Actor George Takei threatened to boycott Arizona if the bill became law. Several large corporations such as Apple and American Airlines also threatened to stop doing business in Arizona. The case people used to justify the bill came from New Mexico, where a gay couple sued a photographer for refusing to take pictures of their wedding. He objected based on religious grounds.
Opponents to the bill argued the law was a thinly veiled excuse to discriminate against people because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. They pointed out that the bill would give companies the same rights as individuals, creating a precedent for corporations to establish person hood. This would make it much more difficult for LGBT people to go into businesses where the owner or manager disagreed with their lifestyle, and used that as a reason to not provide them with service.
Another problem that even some supporters of the bill realized might happen and compelled them to switch to being against the bill was how vague the law was written. It would allow people from other religious faiths to object to providing service because they didn\'t like something that might be in conflict with their religious belief. When lawmakers realized the potential problem it would cause and could even lead to Christians being denied service, they changed their mind and urged Governor Brewer to veto the bill.
Governor Brewer vetoed the bill before her in Arizona, but 13 other states in the country have nearly identical bills currently in committee or working it\'s way through state legislatures. So far, no "religious freedom" bill has been signed into law.
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