If you’re an LGBT individual who lives in Arizona, the anti-discrimination laws are not on your side.
You have legal recourse if a Christian boss fired you for being a Muslim, but if a Christian baker doesn’t want to make a cake for your same-sex commitment ceremony, you’re out of luck. If you and your same-sex partner want to get a hotel room, a Christian manager could say no and that could be the end of it.
A new bill currently being discussed in the state’s Senate, SB 1062, is about to change that, giving special protection to… Christians. And all religious people. Because they’re the real victims here:
Senate Bill 1062, pushed by the conservative advocacy group Center for Arizona Policy and introduced by Sen. Steve Yarbrough, R-Chandler, would allow individuals to use religious beliefs as a defense in a lawsuit filed by another individual.
Opponents say it could also protect a corporation that refused to hire anyone who wasn’t Christian and could block members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community from access to nearly any business or service.
Yarbrough attempted to say that the bill doesn’t “allow discrimination of any kind”… but he’s referring to the discrimination that’s currently banned in the state’s books. The fact remains: You can still be fired just for being gay — and this new law gives additional protection to those employers whose sincerely-held religious beliefs require them to be bigots.
It’s not just an anti-gay-rights law, either:
[Yarbrough] acknowledged to reporter Howard Fischer that his bill could be used to discriminate against not only gay people, but also unmarried women, or people with different religious beliefs, as examples. It’s possible that his bill could actually allow religion to be used to justify breaking nearly any law in Arizona.
Governor Jan Brewer blocked similar legislation last year, but it had nothing to do with its contents. If this bill gets through the state House and Senate, it’s expected she’ll sign this into law.
I didn’t think it was possible for Arizona to sink that low, but the Republicans there keep finding new depths…
(Thanks to William for the link)