About SB1062. Have you read the bill? If not, no worries. It's not as long as the ObamaCare bill! We have republished the whole thing below.
But, first some of the back story.
What: SB1062 is a rewrite of the 1999 Arizona law called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). It essentially does 2 things:
1. It broadens the definition of who can claim religious freedom protections.
2. It makes it more difficult to claim religious freedom protections in order to refuse services. (This aspect is not very widely explained. See Sec. 2D - E in the law below.)
Did you know:
SB1062 does not refer to the gay lifestyle, homosexuals, lesbians or any other related terms.
Why: SB1062 was enacted in order to prevent people from being forced to participate in certain activities that might go against their religious beliefs. There have been some recent examples of this in other states.
- Colorado: A baker was asked to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex wedding. In Colorado, it's worth noting, same-sex weddings are illegal. When he declined, he was ordered by a judge to bake cakes for same-sex marriages, and if he doesn't, he could go to jail. Read: Baker Faces Prison for Refusing to Bake Same-Sex Wedding Cake
- Oregon: This is another baker who didn't choose to bake a cake for a lesbian couple. They were willing to sell them baked goods, but they didn't want to participate in the wedding, ie: by making their wedding cake. The owner of this bakery is facing fines of an unknown amount. See: Oregon Bakery Found to Have Unlawfully Discriminated Against Same-Sex Couple
- New Mexico: A photographer was asked to photograph a gay marriage ceremony. New Mexico has not legalized same-sex marriage statewide. When she declined, the case was taken to court. On August 22, 2013, the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled against the photographer. As noted in the Forbes article, Entrepreneurship Threatened By Ruling In New Mexico Gay Marriage Case, "According to a recent Rasmussen poll, 85% of Americans believe Elaine had the right to refuse service to the gay couple. I suspect the percentage would be even higher if respondents had been asked not if a Christian woman could refuse to photograph a gay marriage ceremony, but if a business owned by an African-American woman must provide services to the KKK." The photographer has been fined $6,637.94. This decision is being appealed to the United States Supreme Court.
- NM Supreme Court Justice Richard Bosson's concurring opinion states, "...now are compelled by law to compromise the very religious beliefs that inspire their lives. Though the rule of law requires it, the result is sobering... The Huguenins are free to think, to say, to believe, as they wish; they may pray to the God of their choice and follow those commandments in their personal lives wherever they lead. The Constitution protects the Huguenins in that respect and much more. But there is a price, one that we all have to pay somewhere in our civic life... In short, I would say to the Huguenins, with the utmost respect: it is the price of citizenship."
Center for Arizona Policy (CAP) President Cathy Herrod writes, "Simply put, the fear-mongering from opponents is unrelated to the language of the bill, and proves that hostility towards people of faith is very real."
CAP maintains that, "Arizona needs SB 1062 to protect the religious freedom rights of every citizen... People don't forfeit their religious freedom rights simply because they go to work or start a business."
Here is a link to the CAP Fact Sheet.
Opposition to the Bill
Those that are opposed to the bill claim it will allow businesses to refuse to serve gays or other people that violate their religious beliefs. The catchphrase being used is that SB 1062 would "legalize discrimination" against gays.
Fearing a boycott, several business organizations are urging the Governor to veto the bill, according to the Phoenix Business Journal article, "Arizona business leaders plead for veto of SB 1062."
As a matter of fact, three Senators who voted for the bill, one of which was a co-sponsor of the bill, are now asking the Governor to veto it. On Monday, the three sent a letter to the Governor explaining their position. See: Senators Pierce, Driggs and Worsley Urge Governor to Veto SB1062.
If there were a "do-over" in this case, and these three senators reversed their vote, the law would not pass today.
Senator Steve Pierce explains pragmatically, "I try to evaluate any bill and what its effect will be first on my constituents, then our state and our future economy. I make decisions trying to get it right with one vote. I don't always get it right but when I don't, I know how to make it right. This is one of those times. Originally, I had questions on this bill. My first impression was obviously correct!
To make this right, I strongly urge the Governor to Veto SB1062. It is the best outcome for the citizens of Arizona."
Read the Bill: SB1062
The text of the entire bill is below. If you want to read it's original form, just read the black and red text.
Original bill: Black text
Removed from original bill: red, lined through text
New text: Blue
The law passed the Legislature on February 20, 2014, and is now awaiting Governor Brewer's signature.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Arizona:
Section 1. Section 41-1493, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended to read:
In this article, unless the context otherwise requires:
1. "Demonstrates" means meets the burdens of going forward with the evidence and of persuasion.
2. "Exercise of religion" means 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.
3. "Government" includes this state and any agency or political subdivision of this state.
4. "Nonreligious assembly or institution" includes all membership organizations, theaters, cultural centers, dance halls, fraternal orders, amphitheaters and places of public assembly regardless of size that a government or political subdivision allows to meet in a zoning district by code or ordinance or by practice.
5. "Person" includes
a religious assembly or institutionANY INDIVIDUAL, ASSOCIATION, PARTNERSHIP, CORPORATION, CHURCH, RELIGIOUS ASSEMBLY OR INSTITUTION OR OTHER BUSINESS ORGANIZATION.
6. "Political subdivision" includes any county, city, including a charter city, town, school district, municipal corporation or special district, any board, commission or agency of a county, city, including a charter city, town, school district, municipal corporation or special district or any other local public agency.
7. "Religionβneutral zoning standards":
(a) Means numerically definable standards such as maximum occupancy codes, height restrictions, setbacks, fire codes, parking space requirements, sewer capacity limitations and traffic congestion limitations.
(b) Does not include:
(i) Synergy with uses that a government holds as more desirable.
(ii) The ability to raise tax revenues.
8. "Suitable alternate property" means a financially feasible property considering the person's revenue sources and other financial obligations with respect to the person's exercise of religion and with relation to spending that is in the same zoning district or in a contiguous area that the person finds acceptable for conducting the person's religious mission and that is large enough to fully accommodate the current and projected seating capacity requirements of the person in a manner that the person deems suitable for the person's religious mission.
9. "Unreasonable burden" means that a person is prevented from using the person's property in a manner that the person finds satisfactory to fulfill the person's religious mission.
Sec. 2. Section 41-1493.01, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended to read:
41-1493.01.Free exercise of religion protected; definition
A. Free exercise of religion is a fundamental right that applies in this state even if laws, rules or other government actions are facially neutral.
B. Except as provided in subsection C,
governmentOF THIS SECTION, STATE ACTION shall not substantially burden a person's exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability.
GovernmentSTATE ACTION may substantially burden a person's exercise of religion only if itTHE GOVERNMENT OR NONGOVERNMENTAL PERSON SEEKING THE ENFORCEMENT OF STATE ACTION demonstrates that application of the burden to the personPERSON'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.
D. A person whose religious exercise is burdened in violation of this section may assert that violation as a claim or defense in a judicial proceeding,
and obtain appropriate relief against a governmentREGARDLESS OF WHETHER THE GOVERNMENT IS A PARTY TO THE PROCEEDING.
E. A PERSON THAT ASSERTS A VIOLATION OF THIS SECTION MUST ESTABLISH ALL OF THE FOLLOWING:
1. THAT THE PERSON'S ACTION OR REFUSAL TO ACT IS MOTIVATED BY A RELIGIOUS BELIEF.
2. THAT THE PERSON'S RELIGIOUS BELIEF IS SINCERELY HELD.
3. THAT THE STATE ACTION SUBSTANTIALLY BURDENS THE EXERCISE OF THE PERSON'S RELIGIOUS BELIEFS.
F. THE PERSON ASSERTING A CLAIM OR DEFENSE UNDER SUBSECTION D OF THIS SECTION MAY OBTAIN INJUNCTIVE AND DECLARATORY RELIEF. A party who prevails in any action to enforce this article against a government shall recover attorney fees and costs.
E.G. InFOR THE PURPOSES OF this section, the term substantially burden is intended solely to ensure that this article is not triggered by trivial, technical or de minimis infractions.
H. FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, "STATE ACTION" MEANS ANY ACTION, EXCEPT FOR THE REQUIREMENTS PRESCRIBED BY SECTION 41-1493.04, BY THE GOVERNMENT OR THE IMPLEMENTATION OR APPLICATION OF ANY LAW, INCLUDING STATE AND LOCAL LAWS, ORDINANCES, RULES, REGULATIONS AND POLICIES, WHETHER STATUTORY OR OTHERWISE, AND WHETHER THE IMPLEMENTATION OR APPLICATION IS MADE BY THE GOVERNMENT OR NONGOVERNMENTAL PERSONS.