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 AZ bill letting businesses deny service for religious reason 
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Post Re: AZ bill letting businesses deny service for religious re
Wags, just for the record regardless of how it sounds when discussing, nothing is being said out of disrespect to you or what you're saying. :)

Nothing in the section would lead anyone to believe they can make up a belief. But even if they did, it would have to be proven to be an actual religious belief, AND that they honestly believed it to be true, AND that it would prove to be a burden upon their business for accepting the business. It's very limiting on what you can claim would cause actual burden.

The part you said is open to discrimination is missing the words above. It says YOU have the right to act or refuse to act, regardless if the belief is a major part of a religion or it's a mandatory part of your religion. Meaning you are free from lawsuits against you by someone you refuse to serve, but also those that would sue because you chose to serve them. Any acts of discrimination would have to prove the above clauses, so while people can make up reasons, it's very hard to prove it's a valid reason. And compulsory is the same as mandated or mandatory. Like a core belief.

Just because something is mentioned in the Bible, especially the old testament, doesn't mean that it's compliant with existing law. And again, what burden could someone prove for denying service? That's the sticker in the bill. Can you prove a burden that would hurt your business or organization? Very few would be able to prove it.

DOMA was passed by Clinton, so it's not strictly a partisan issue. Hell, Obama was against it before he was for it and even now he just stopped executing the law instead of working to change it.

I'm 100% against discrimination of any kind. But I think the attempts to force churches to perform ceremonies they disagree with is discrimination also. Will some do it? Absolutely. But should they be forced to? Absolutely not. This isn't going to help bars kick someone out, or other discriminatory acts against people they don't like, it's to protect those that have a valid religious reason for not wanting to participate. Will people try to do it? Of course, but the current law makes it much easier than it would under this bill. That's why I think this bill actually accomplishes something. It's not a new law from scratch, it just makes the current broad bill more narrow. Maybe they need to make it even more narrow.

And I know Arizona doesn't allow gay marriages, but this same bill is on the dockets for a number of other states that do.

February 26th, 2014, 12:30 pm
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Post Re: AZ bill letting businesses deny service for religious re
TheRealWags wrote:
A little more info:
Outcry over Arizona's SB 1062 overshadows bill's limited power

PHOENIX — The hype and rhetoric on both sides of SB 1062, now awaiting action by Gov. Jan Brewer, may disguise the fact that the measure does far less than some have suggested.

The legislation extends existing state laws that provide a shield for those of faith from having to comply with certain government statutes and regulations.

But as with all things, it’s not that simple.

First, despite a key example cited by proponents, the legislation affects neither the rights of gays nor the rights of businesses to refuse service to gays.

The existing Religious Freedom Restoration Act and its proposed expansion in SB 1062 essentially deal with those for whom the government has provided special “protected class” status. That includes issues of gender, race, religion and national origin.

Neither Arizona nor federal law provides any special protection on sexual orientation or gender identification.

That differs from New Mexico, where state law does extend protected status to sexual orientation. New Mexico is often cited in SB 1062 discussions because its state Supreme Court ruled that a gay couple could sue a photographer who refused to take pictures of their wedding. And that’s what got the attention of the LGBT community.

In Arizona, however, nothing in state law requires businesses to serve homosexuals.

And even in Phoenix, Tucson and Flagstaff — cities that extend rights based on sexual orientation — only the government can take action against an offending firm. Companies already are able to claim a shield against government action under existing law. There is no individual right to sue.

“My summary is: It means almost nothing,” said Paul Bender, former dean of the Arizona State University College of Law.

“People talk about, ‘I’ll go into a bakery and ask them for a wedding cake,’ and they’ll say, ‘I don’t do wedding cakes for gay weddings,’ ” Bender said. “So what? You can’t sue them for that.’’

That gets to the heart of what SB 1062 actually would do: provide the same shield to businesses they now have from government action in cases of civil lawsuits — at least in cases of discrimination based on protected classes like race, religion and gender.

But it’s far from automatic.

The law provides a three-part test that someone seeking to use the shield would have to establish in court.

First, the person’s action or refusal to act “is motivated by a religious belief.”

Second, that belief must be “sincerely held.”

And third, there would need to be proof that being forced to do something “substantially burdens the exercise of the person’s religious beliefs.”

It is that last provision that prevents SB 1062 from being a catch-all for any religious claim.

Here’s an example: A Catholic cabdriver refuses to take a pregnant woman to an abortion clinic to terminate her pregnancy.

It would be up to the cabdriver to assert that what the passenger wanted would substantially burden the driver’s religious belief, said Josh Kredit, attorney for the Center for Arizona Policy. Then the woman would have to show there is a legitimate governmental interest in any rules that require cabdrivers to pick up all fares, and that any such restrictions are the least onerous necessary to achieve that.

The outcome of the lawsuit might even depend on whether that was the only taxi in town, Kredit said.

But even that does not end the inquiry. If the business meets that three-part test, then the burden falls on the government — or, in the case of SB 1062, an individual denied service — to persuade the judge to ignore all that.

Specifically, a judge would need to believe that whatever protections are in the law for taxi patrons are necessary both to further “a compelling governmental interest” and that the protections are “the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.”

But Senate President Andy Biggs said he sees no chance of a lawsuit. He said pregnant women are not a “protected class” under Arizona law.

Instead, Biggs prefers the example of a Catholic art gallery owner who refuses to put on display a painting of a crucifix immersed in urine. He said an argument could be made that being forced to display such a painting burdens the owner’s religious beliefs.

Sen. Steve Yarbrough, R-Chandler, the prime sponsor of SB 1062, prefers a different example: A corporation formed by some devout Jews to provide kosher catering that is asked to provide pork products at an event.

Their sincerely held religious beliefs would prevent them from doing that, he says. Without the changes in SB 1062, the business owners could find themselves in court having to defend their actions, he said.

States began enacting their own versions of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act after the Supreme Court ruled that federal law did not extend to them, Bender said. What SB 1062 does, he said, is extend that Arizona law to a private right of action.

“But the main thing people miss is, there’s no right of action against a bigot in the first place,” Bender said. “The bigot doesn’t need this.”

There is, though, one provision that could have some implications, Bender said.

Under current law, the right to claim religious freedom extends to individuals, religious assemblies or institutions. This legislation would expand that to provide a shield to associations, partnerships, corporations, churches and other business organizations.

Still, the issue of SB 1062 goes beyond the question of whether it’s needed or actually would accomplish anything, Bender said. “When you do that, ... people take it as an encouragement to discriminate.” ... b50b4.html
I'll stick by my assessment of it being a waste of taxpayer money. And I'm still waiting for the definitions of terms...what is the burden of proof for the beliefs?

The burden isn't for proof of religion, it's for burden on their practice of it. Like a church holding belief that gay marriage goes against the bible, being forced to perform a gay marriage would make them go against their religion directly. The cab driver example in the article is a good example of how it isn't a burden on his religion.

24 E. In FOR THE PURPOSES OF this section, the term substantially burden
25 is intended solely to ensure that this article is not triggered by trivial,
26 technical or de minimis infraction

That's the definition in the bill.

February 26th, 2014, 12:34 pm
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Post Re: AZ bill letting businesses deny service for religious re
WarEr4Christ wrote:
I have a question:

Does a business that serves the public have any rights to deny services without being labeled discriminatory? Does a business HAVE to identify a reason for denying services?

Excellent question. Companies often post signs saying they have the right to refuse service. This is meant to apply to customers who are being overly difficult or perhaps threatening/abusing their employees. Business that serve the public, however, must follow the same anti-discrimination laws (Civil Rights Act - 1964, you can also apply the Americans with Disabilities Act) as employers do when hiring. Sexual orientation doesn't fall under either one of these acts to my knowledge however, although some states have supplemental laws that extend this to sexual orientation - I'm not familiar with Arizona specific laws.

It is pretty easy to distinguish between someone being denied service because they are being an @$$ vs. someone simply being discriminated against.

Regardless, if you ask yourself (or pray) WWJD - the answer is very clear. Anyone claiming otherwise is hiding behind their own personal 18th century agenda.

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February 26th, 2014, 12:37 pm
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Post Re: AZ bill letting businesses deny service for religious re
I still think that the, and this is my opinion, that the Photographer showed their cards by stating that they refused service because of the nature of the request. That opened up the can of worms! Had they just declined services for another legitimate reason, so as not to lie, then the couple would have moved on. Regardless, government intrusion is happening on a wide scale across the board, and this will be no different.

Wags: I wanted to let you know that your OT reference came from a time known as "the Time of the Law." With the arrival of Jesus, the time of the law was fulfilled in Him. So from the NT forward, those pictures that you've shown no longer "apply". (<-- for lack of a better word).

However, there is a misnomer in polygamy too! That was not a practice instituted by God, it was something practiced by people of that time, and it was not a healthy practice. This too was explained and "done away with" in the New Testament.

Just thought you'd like to know.

Acts 4:13, 1 Cor. 2:1-5, Rom. 12:1-2

February 26th, 2014, 1:17 pm
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Post Re: AZ bill letting businesses deny service for religious re
The Daily Beast wrote:
Morally and Legally, the Right Call in Arizona
Michael Tomasky

There’s no question that Jan Brewer did the right thing yesterday. No moral question. And no legal question either. Well, let me slightly amend that: With this Supreme Court, you never know about the future. But we know about the past, and decades of civil-rights case law are squarely on Brewer’s side, and supporters of SB 1062 just have to see this clearly and squarely and accept it.

It’s not like we’ve never fought over these questions. We have, of course, and a result, there’s a history here. And that history, that body of court decisions, says clearly, like it or not, that generally speaking, citizens cannot opt out of civil rights laws.

As Harvard law professor Noah Feldman pointed out yesterday in a Bloomberg view column, segregationist business owners in the South argued after the civil rights act of 1964 that their “constitutional right to associate” as they chose should permit them not to serve black customers. (The religious-liberty right, Feldman notes, has the same “constitutional status” as the right to associate.) But courts never said that this was permissible.

We may laugh today at the idea that the racist owner of a hardware store in Natchez in 1965 could have refused to sell a black carpenter a bag of masonry nails. But it was no laughing matter then. This was real. Congress, and then the courts, put a stop to it. As Feldman told me yesterday in a follow-up exchange: “Freedom to associate and exercise religion are basic rights. Excluding customers isn't.”

The freedom to associate that Feldman mentions is one carve-out that courts have recognized. But that’s a narrow exemption, intended in real life mostly for private or fraternal organizations that are built around some idea of ethnic cohesion—New York’s Ancient Order of Hibernians, for example, which quite famously has been allowed for years to ban gay people and groups from marching in the city’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

By the way, doesn’t it seem weirdly anachronistic and reactionary that the Hibernians still enforce this ban? The gay-rights position was controversial back in the early ’90s, when I was covering these things. Now, the Hibernians’ position seems like something better suited to Alabama than New York City. In any case, after Rudy Giuliani and Mike Bloomberg marched in the discriminatory parade every years, new Mayor Bill De Blasio announced that he’s boycotting it.

But, the Hibernians are allowed to do this under their right to associate. There also exists a so-called “Mrs. Murphy” exemption to the Fair Housing Act for owner-occupied rental housing of four or fewer units—that is, if little old Mrs. Murphy subdivided her big house and wants to keep out certain people, she’s probably allowed to do that. And finally, in certain narrow cases, religious institutions that serve mostly religious purposes are allowed to hire only their coreligionists.

But a business vending to the general public? No way. If these “Christians” in Arizona are permitted to deny their services to same-sex couples, then atheist small-businesses owners in Berkeley are perfectly within their rights to hang a sign: “No Christian evangelicals served.” It would be crazy for courts to open that door.

Brewer seemed to understand all this properly with the money passage of her statement yesterday: “Senate Bill 1062 does not address a specific or present concern related to religious liberty in Arizona. I have not heard one example in Arizona where a business owner’s religious liberty has been violated.” She deserves credit for saying this, dismissing this specious religious liberty talk.

The legal history is clear. The legal future, though, is still a bit up in the air. Feldman acknowledges that SB 1062 “may well be constitutional” because the law’s supporters might be able to argue successfully that their tradition of religious liberty is “in jeopardy.” Samuel Bagenstos, a former assistant attorney general for civil rights under Barack Obama who now teaches law at the University of Michigan, explains that the Arizona law and others like it around the country constitute a new and not-yet-settled legal battle front. “These laws, by singling out gays and lesbians for less protection of antidiscrimination laws, are vulnerable to a challenge under the Equal Protection Clause,” Bagenstos says. “But the law's very much developing in this area, so we really can't say anything with confidence.”

It’s developing, but it’s mostly developing on the side of shutting down legal discrimination. Ask the Texas judge who yesterday struck down that state’s same-sex marriage ban, writing “that state-imposed inequality can find no refuge in our United States Constitution.” Increasingly, the law is coming to understand what more and more Americans understand. Gay people are equal. Period. There is no real religious basis for thinking otherwise. Ian Millhiser of Think Progress reminded us yesterday of people who used to think the same way:

In 1901, Georgia Gov. Allen Candler defended unequal public schooling for African Americans on the grounds that “God made them negroes and we cannot by education make them white folks.” After the Supreme Court ordered public schools integrated in Brown v. Board of Education, many segregationists cited their own faith as justification for official racism. Ross Barnett won Mississippi’s governorship in a landslide in 1960 after claiming that “the good Lord was the original segregationist.” Senator Harry Byrd of Virginia relied on passages from Genesis, Leviticus and Matthew when he spoke out against the civil rights law banning employment discrimination and whites-only lunch counters on the Senate floor.

It’s painfully obvious that in a mere 10 or 15 years, that’s how these Arizona Christians will be widely seen. They really ought to ask themselves if that’s the historic company they want to keep. ... izona.html

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February 27th, 2014, 9:27 am
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Post Re: AZ bill letting businesses deny service for religious re
Another interesting take on it...
The Daily Beast wrote:
Are Opponents of Arizona's Anti-Gay Law Eager to Deceive?
Following the veto of SB 1062, supporters are backpedaling to save face any way they can—from linguistics to redefining the original meaning of the bill. Kirsten Powers calls their bluff.

Conservative backers of Arizona bill SB 1062 had two choices following Gov. Jan Brewer’s veto of the right-to-discriminate bill. They could defend the bill on its merits. Or, they could distort the contents of the bill and attack anyone who disagreed with them as a legal Luddite and hysteric. Sadly, they chose the latter.

Conservatives fanned out to claim that the bill was a big nothingburger. Anyone who was upset about it was exaggerating its potential impact. It’s already legal to discriminate against gays in Arizona, so they don’t even need the law, they claimed.

Wait. If there is no need for the law, then why are they lobbying for it in the first place? Perhaps it’s because the Arizona legal system isn’t quite the anti-gay free-for-all they describe. A third of the state’s population (Flagstaff, Tucson, and Phoenix) is covered by local nondiscrimination ordinances, which also apply in the public accommodations context. So SB 1062 actually does significantly alter the legal landscape for Arizonans who want to discriminate.

Not so, said Jonah Goldberg in the National Review. Echoing the line that SB 1062 was just an innocuous amendment that doesn’t even merit a second glance, he wrote, "Arizona’s proposed SB 1062 would have amended the state’s 15-year-old Religious Freedom Restoration Act in a minor way so as to cover businesses.”

How is adding the entire marketplace “minor”?

He continued: “[SB 1062] would have allowed small businesses to decline work that violated their consciences, unless the government could show a compelling reason why such refusal was unreasonable or unjust.” Whether one agrees or disagrees that this is a necessary amendment, it is absurd to describe giving small businesses the right to discriminate against certain customers as a minor change.

Conservative groups circulated a letter from a group of law professors who support SB 1062 that was supposed to prove that the Arizona law just made some piddling tweaks to the existing state Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Backers of the bill pretended that these were the only legal experts in America who have a view on the law. Anyone who disagreed with their interpretation was—in the words of these professors—“egregiously misrepresenting the law.” Ross Douthat wrote in The New York Times that the media coverage of the bill was “mendacious” and “hysterical.” Linking to the professors’ letter, he claimed critics of the bill “have no familiarity with the legal issues.” Never mind that several legal groups, including the ACLU and the Anti-Defamation League, have blasted the Arizona bill.

So what exactly did the professors say? They wrote, “SB 1062 does not say that businesses can discriminate for religious reasons. The proposed amendments provided a defense for a business owner or allowed a business owner to file a lawsuit to enforce RFRA protection.” So, by their own account, the bill gives a business owner who has discriminated against someone based on religious belief a legal defense that they previously did not have. This is exactly what critics of the bill are protesting. (The professors also expressed disapproval of the Kansas right-to-discriminate bill, but conservatives seem to believe these professors are only the last word on the Arizona law. Not so for Kansas.)

First Amendment expert Floyd Abrams, a strong backer of the federal RFRA, told me, “The letter seeks to transform a major issue of social policy into a trivial one of statutory draftsmanship. The real issue is whether the statute was drafted to afford more protection for those who discriminate or those who are the victims of discrimination. There can be no doubt that the former is true.

“There is no doubt that, if adopted, the Arizona legislation would have made it easier for those who engage in discrimination to seek to avoid penalties for doing so,” said Abrams. “That was the only purpose of the statute, not the resolution of some arcane statutory ambiguities [as the letter states]. Once they focus in on whether someone is acting out of genuine religious belief, the transgressor is half way home. It’s true that the statute itself would not require the absolution of those who engage in discriminatory conduct from legal sanctions, but it certainly would [and was meant to] make it more likely that those who did so would escape those sanctions.”

The law professors further claimed that the changes to the Arizona RFRA merely brought it into line with the federal RFRA, a favored line of conservatives. This was presented as settled law, which it is not. Conservatives argue that the federal RFRA provides a defense for a citizen when sued by another citizen, when in fact this issue is far from settled. Many legal experts believe the federal RFRA only provides a defense for citizens who have had their religious freedom infringed upon by the government.

Rather than acknowledging that there are smart legal scholars on both sides of this debate, conservatives claim that anyone who disagrees with them is intentionally distorting the law or just too stupid to understand it. Or as The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway put it: They are “dumb, uneducated, and eager to deceive.”

Conservatives have also twisted themselves in knots to present themselves as victims of a smear campaign. In a widely circulated Politico column, Rich Lowry wrote that it was “jarring to read the coverage of the new ‘anti-gay bill.’” Since the word “gay” didn’t appear in the legislation, Lowry asserted that, “There was nothing anti-gay about Arizona’s anti-gay bill.”

What’s jarring is to hear the editor of the National Review call people who are accurately describing the law liars. The Arizona bill is very much about gayness. But don’t take my word for it: Let’s look at how supporters of the bill have characterized it.

The Center for Arizona Policy, a pro-(heterosexual)-family organization that lobbied for the bill, has a fact sheet on their website that says: “The critical need for [SB 1062] came to light in a case recently ruled on by the New Mexico Supreme Court… Elane Photography v. Willock.” This is the case in which a Christian wedding photographer was sued for refusing to serve a same-sex wedding. Guess who gets married in same-sex weddings? Gay people.

Lowry’s magazine, the National Review, also seems to think SB 1062 was about gay people. In an editorial defending the Arizona Law, they wrote: “In response to a number of lawsuits in which such providers of wedding-related services as bakers and photographers have been threatened with conscription into participating in same-sex ceremonies to which they object on religious grounds, Arizona’s state legislature has adopted a law under which businesses that decline to provide such services will enjoy protection.” (Notice that they say that a bill that allegedly doesn’t alter current law actually adds a legal protection.)

If the Arizona bill isn’t about gay people then it makes the National Review editorial even more curious because it went on to mock gay-rights leaders as having “oppression envy” toward black people. The editors also derided the scourge of “organized homosexuality,” which must be different from disorganized homosexuality. We’ll have to wait for clarification on that. Whatever it is, the National Review doesn’t want Christians to have to bake cakes for it.

The Baptist Press also didn’t get the memo that only screeching liberals think the law had anything to do with gay people. It reported last week, “Though the two-page bill did not mention sexuality, without it Arizona business owners such as photographers, florists, and bakers could be forced to use their creative talents in celebration of same-sex weddings and other life events that violate their conscience, [Christian leaders Russell] Moore and [Albert] Mohler said.”

The Family Research Council’s Peter Sprigg told the Washington Post that these bills are necessary because, “There is a sense of alarm within the pro-family movement and among conservative Christians that there [are] growing threats to religious liberty, and many of those threats do relate to the agenda of the sexual revolutionaries. Yes, he referred to people who want to commit to spend their lives together as “sexual revolutionaries.”

The irony here is that conservatives believe they are the ones who are on the right side of history. Jonah Goldberg complained in the National Review that, “ Future historians will likely be flummoxed by the moment we’re living in. In what amounts to less than a blink of an eye in the history of Western civilization, homosexuality has gone from a diagnosed mental disorder to something to be celebrated—or else. Indeed, the rush to mandatory celebration is so intense, refusal is now considered tantamount to a crime.”

There are so many problems here. The Diagnostic of Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) changed its categorization of homosexuality as a mental disorder in 1981. That was 33 years ago. Imagine Goldberg in 1993 complaining that it was “less than a blink of an eye” in history since the U.S. government believed blacks were so subhuman they couldn’t legally be served next to whites, so stop getting upset with people who don’t want them in their restaurants.

Finally—and this is a big one—nobody is asking their wedding vendor to celebrate their wedding. This is the canard at the foundation of this debate: that gays and lesbians want people who disapprove of their nuptials to join in the celebration of them. Literally not one person is asking anyone to celebrate or affirm something in which they don’t believe. In fact, the only people who are demanding affirmation are the conservatives who believe a business owner should be able to segregate public services because they think their religion mandates it. They are demanding that the rest of us affirm their bad theology and codify it in the law.

For a group of people who claim that they just want to be left alone, these Christian vendors seem to have a strange compulsion to insert themselves where they have not been invited. I think it’s the same-sex couples who need to be left alone. Since when does ordering a cake or a flower arrangement give someone the right to intrude into a customer’s life in the way these Christian vendors want to? They seem to think because a same-sex couple had the misfortune of walking into the wrong bakery that they are compelled to accept without complaint being on the receiving end of judgment, humiliation, and discrimination.

Opponents of the Arizona law are asking for one simple thing: that business owners provide same-sex couples the same service that they provide to every other person who walks through the door. This is not a radical proposition. Nobody wants nor needs the “affirmation” of their baker for their wedding, or anything else. Unless the wedding vendor—or the National Review—received an invitation to the wedding, they should assume they have not been asked to “celebrate” anything. ... ceive.html

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March 3rd, 2014, 2:13 pm
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