The Issue: Legislation like Senate Bill 1062 opens the possibility for legalized discrimination
Our Stance: The protection of religious freedom shouldn’t come at the potential cost of basic human rights
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed Senate Bill 1062 Feb. 26, a bill that aimed to amend an existing statute and give any individual an exemption from a state law if it is in conflict with a person’s religious beliefs.
Most notably, it would change Arizona’s law regarding public accommodation—the ability or inability to refuse someone service in a public institution.
Basically, a company or person would be able to refuse service to anyone if that person didn’t fit in to their “sincere” religious belief.
A scenario of this could be a store owner refusing service to a homosexual person, divorced woman or an unwed mother because the store owner’s religious belief is against that certain group.
The Roundup applauds Gov. Brewer for making the right decision with this problematic legislation.
According to the contents of the bill, SB 1062 was introduced because, “free exercise of religion is a fundamental right that applies in this state even if laws, rules or other government actions are facially neutral.”
After the bill quietly and quickly passed through Arizona’s state legislature, it received an immense amount of backlash, with critics citing it as a law that would open the door for state-sanctioned discrimination.
Private citizens and many in the state’s business community called for the governor’s veto pen.
After days of anticipation, Gov. Brewer vetoed the bill, deeming it too broad.
“I have not heard one example, in Arizona, where business owners’ religious liberty has been violated,” Brewer said during a press statement announcing her veto. “The bill is broadly worded and could result in unintended and negative consequences.”
SB 1062 draws an obvious parallel to Senate Bill 1070, the controversial piece of legislation that caused national fervor years back when it granted Arizona police officers the right to ask suspected persons of their citizenship status during lawful traffic stops.
Both bills faced fierce opposition and have helped to develop Arizona’s now infamous status around the country.
If we hope to fix our reputation, we need to ensure that bills such as SB 1062 are seldom introduced and never passed.
While the goal of SB 1062 is noble— religion is inherent to one’s identity— it came across as a bill looking to fix a problem that doesn’t exist, and it went about it in a wrong, dangerous way.
Although religious freedom is a crucial component of our culture—and something we should take great pride in at this school in particular—its protection should never open the opportunity for discrimination or come at the cost of another’s basic human rights.
Staff editorial by Charles Louis Dominguez ’14 & Christian Guerithault ’14
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