Republican Senators in Arizona Request a Do-Over

Dr. Science at Obsidian Wings has pointed out that many of the people in the “traditional marriage” crowd are just not very good at their jobs. Particularly those in government or the legal profession. Whether it’s composing legal cases stuffed with arguments that have already been rejected, or pushing for policy without understanding the language of the bill you’re sponsoring, the performance is simply embarrassing.

Now here’s another data point for that theory from AZ Central. It concerns Senate Bill 1062, which would amend existing law to allow religious exemptions to private persons or businesses who would otherwise be compelled to perform some action that is against their religious belief. In other words, SB1062 would allow people sued under civil rights laws or similar regulations to claim “religious exemption.”

Clearly this is another religious liberty law intended to prevent people from having to do anything with gay marriage, but as in Kansas the language here is so broad it could lead to serious problems. Once that fact got some attention, some of the bill’s supporters backed down:

Three Republican senators who voted for Senate Bill 1062 say they made a bad decision in a rushed process and are now asking Gov. Jan Brewer to veto the right to refuse service bill.

“We feel it was a solution in search of a problem,” Sen. Bob Worsley, R-Mesa, said in an impromptu news conference outside the state Senate. He was joined by Sen. Steve Pierce, R-Prescott.

The two, along with Senate Majority Whip Adam Driggs, R-Phoenix, sent Brewer a letter Monday morning asking for a veto.

Their excuses are an example of kettle logic: we were rushed, it was just a little tweak to existing law so what’s the fuss, and really it’s our opponent’s fault for complaining about the law.

While our sincere intent in voting for this bill was to create a shield for all citizens’ religious liberties, the bill has instead been mischaracterized by its opponents as a sword for religious intolerance,” the three wrote. “These allegations are causing our state immeasurable harm.”

Pierce and Worsley said the bill was moved along very quickly, not giving them enough time to convince fellow lawmakers to vote against it. Besides, Pierce said, they didn’t want to “tear apart” the GOP caucus, which was sharply divided last year over Brewer’s push for Medicaid expansion.

My impression – and this may be wrong – is that the Republicans in both Kansas and Arizona are under pressure from the business interests. Managers can’t ask about religion in the job interview, so they have no idea what they’re getting when they hire. If your hotel clerk refuses to rent rooms to people who aren’t married, or your waiter refuses to serve inter-racial couples, then your business could take a major hit.

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