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Saturday, October 22, 2016

TUCSON, Ariz. — Say a gay couple in Phoenix walks into a bakery to order their wedding cake. The baker refuses to take their order because of his deeply held religious beliefs. Under a measure that passed the Arizona Legislature this week, the baker would have greater protection to invoke religion to shield himself from a discrimination lawsuit.

The bill, approved by the Republican-controlled Senate on Wednesday and the GOP-led House on Thursday, would bolster a business owner’s right to refuse service to gays and others if the owner believes doing so violates the practice and observance of his or her religion.

The state Senate passed it on a straight party-line vote, 17 to 13. The House followed suit, 33 to 27, with two Republicans joining all the Democrats in opposition.

GOP Governor Jan Brewer’s office said she would not take a position until she’d had a chance to review the measure.

Proponents contend the bill is about protecting religious freedom, rights that “must be respected,” said Republican Sen. Steve Yarbrough, who introduced the measure.

Republican Rep. Eddie Farnsworth, a House sponsor, said there had been an “onslaught of attacks on religious freedoms.” The bill, he said, “is trying to protect those freedoms.”

But opponents, including Democratic lawmakers and gay activist groups, describe the bill as unconstitutional, discriminatory and divisive.

It would “permit discrimination under the guise of religious freedom,” said Sen. Ana Tovar, a Democratic leader.

Democrat Chad Campbell of Phoenix, the House minority leader, tweeted after the bill passed: “The world is upset with how Russia has treated gay rights. … I think it’s time for that same anger to be directed towards AZ.”

Arizona’s legislation is similar to proposals in other states, including ones that failed in Kansas and Idaho. Another is under consideration in Utah.

Shannon Minter, legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, is confident that courts would strike down the measure if it became law.

“The Arizona Senate bill is blatantly unconstitutional,” Minter said. “It violates the requirement of equal protection of the laws by openly singling out a particular group of people and saying it’s OK to discriminate against them.”

Tovar said such a law could elicit boycotts.

“With the express consent of Republicans in this Legislature, many Arizonans will find themselves members of a separate and unequal class under this law because of their sexual orientation,” Tovar said. “This bill may also open the door to discriminate based on race, familial status, religion, sex, national origin, age or disability.”

  • Sand_Cat

    It doesn’t seem to dawn on these idiots that the “religious” started this “war” by passing discriminatory laws and abusing gays and other “sinners” extra-legally for literally hundreds of years.
    I love listening Bobby Jindal and the other bigots talk about how this is a direct attack on religion, and some other redneck talking about how people in the deep south believe very stongly in “Christian values,” those values apparently including murder, torture, intimidation, job discrimination, and much more against not only gay people, but against African Americans and all other members of minority races, religions, and political persuasions. That guy Jesus must have been a real bastard, to judge by their imitation of him.
    The best part is how the book of Leviticus and other parts of the Torah are full of barbaric, monstrous, and personally inconvenient prescriptions which all of these people whose consciences won’t let them stop abusing gays ignore: selling children as slaves, killing disobedient children, and all sorts of dietary restrictions; no cheeseburgers, and – best of all in Jindal’s Louisiana – no shrimp or crayfish, are only a few of the more easily-stated rules which are eternal and unchangeable, just like the horrible and degrading things about homosexuals, female adulterers (males get a pass in most cases), and menstruating women, among many,many others. Of course, they also gloss over the part about how someone who causes a woman to have a miscarriage – i.e., an abortionist – is absolved by paying the husband a fee.
    And then, of course, there’s the example of their revered savior, who spent most of his time hanging around with the “sinners” who committed these and other violations, yet managed to restrain himself from killing, or even just maiming, one of these unimaginably horrific “evildoers.” That guy who said that nothing taught in the Torah was in the smallest detail changeable and that anyone who said otherwise would burn in hellfire [it’s been awhile, and I may not have gotten the punishment right, but it was something pretty bad] also said “judge not that you not be judged,” and get the log out of your own eye before going after the splinter – presumably with an axe, in the case of today’s “deeply religious” bigots – in your neighbor’s.
    The whole lot of them are a disgusting, slimy swamp of hypocrisy; that is, they are the core of the modern GOP and “conservative” movements.

    • elw

      Yes, organized religion has an ugly past and present. They can only exist if they make other look bad.

      • Sand_Cat

        Perhaps you didn’t intend it, but your response sounds rather impatient and dismissive.
        I wasn’t talking about “organized” religion specifically, though it would be included if it promotes this kind of hypocrisy. It was the general selection of those rules that are convenient or support a person’s existing malice and prejudice as issues of “conscience” that must not be violated and deprecation of those which require personal sacrifice, which in many cases seem to me the more important (not that I consider the ban on cheeseburgers and shrimp for religious reasons important).

        • elw

          Your right I did not intend to be dismissive or impatient. I personally am not bothered by how anyone lives their life or what they believe in as long as they are not hurting anyone and not pushing their beliefs on me or trying to stop me from living the life the way I want to, that would apply to any beliefs both organized or not.

          • Independent1

            The only commandment Jesus gave to the apostles as he sent them forth was to preach the gsopel. At no time did he ever instruct them to go forth and try to legislate morality or “force” their belief on others.
            And any instructions Paul gave in his letters to the churches with respect to correcting others, was always with respect to correcting believers if that was needed (those in one’s own church). At no time was any instruction given to “force” ones religion upon another.

            So clearly, your impatience with virtually all of today’s organized religions is more than justified given their propensity for constantly attempting to force their beliefs on others.

            Here’s a little something that clarifies the distinction from a religion and The Gospel:

            I wouldn’t walk across the street for religion, but I’m willing to go around the world for the sake of the Gospel. There is a great difference between the two.

            Religion is man-made; the gospel is God-given.

            Religion is what man does for God; the Gospel is what God has done for man.

            Religion is man trying to climb the ladder of his own self-righteousness, with the hope of meeting God on the topmost rung; the Gospel is God coming down the ladder of the incarnation of Jesus Christ and meeting us as sinners at the lowest rung.

            Religion is good view; the Gospel is good news.

            Religion is good advice; the Gospel is a glorious announcement.

            Religion takes a man and leaves him as he is; the Gospel takes a man as he is and makes
            him what he ought to be.

            Religion ends in an outer reformation; the Gospel makes an inward recreation.

            Religion white washes; the Gospel washes white.

            Religion often becomes a farce. The Gospel is always a force, the power of God unto
            salvation to everyone who believes.

            There are many religions, but only One Gospel.

          • elw

            Sorry independent1, anything that is written down by mankind which is meant to explain how you should feel or be is organized religion. I have never and will never believe in a higher power that has nothing more to do than send men messages to write down for others to live their life by. I have no problem with you believing the way you do, please have the same respect for me.

          • Independent1

            Absolutely. The only responsibility I feel each of us as human beings has, is to do whatever it is that we can to help others live worthwhile lives. And striving to force others to live by our own personal belief system, which is what so many “supposedly religious people” in organized religions strive to do, is not something I would ever attempt to do myself.

          • Independent1

            There may be some good news. An article in the DailyKos suggests that the religious right may finally be losing some of their clout.

            Those sounds you hear? They are the death pangs of the religious right!


          • elw

            I read it yesterday, I have been going to the daily kos on a regular basis since you pointed it out to me. Its a good source.

    • idamag

      And, according to Leviticus (their backup for discrimination) Women in their mensus are unclean and must be isolated from the tribe. A woman who gives birth is unclean and must be isolated 5 days for a boy and 7 days for a girl. Pork, and shell fish are taboo.

      • Independent1

        If Arizona’s fake Christians are using verses cherry picked from a book in the Old Testament to justify their discriminatory law, they’re clearly very misguided – as I pointed out to Charle in a response earlier, the writer of Hebrews, made it clear in chapters 8 & 9 that when Jesus came with the New Testament, it made the Old Testament null and void.
        The writer of Hebrews, who many biblical scholars no longer believe was St. Paul, said in verse 13 of the 8th chapter of Hebrews: “By calling this covenant new, he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear.”
        Certainly, “soon” is not 2000 years, so it’s truely sad that there are still millions of clueless Christians that misguidedly refer to verses in a biblical Testament that should have long since disappeared.

  • elw

    It does not matter what the Religious zealots of Arizona think about their new law, it is illegal. Federal Law dominates and Federal Law does not allow the type of discrimination allowed by the Arizona State law. It will be over turned at great expense to the Arizona tax payers. They need a lesson in history about what happen in the 1960s in the State the refused to integrate their schools, buses and treat all people equal. This is a fight that was lost long ago and cannot be won now – just because you are targeting a different group of people.

  • charleo1

    I believe to the average American, this seems out of some distant past,
    they’d much rather forget existed, than return to. I think of those brave young, and peaceful warriors for Civil Rights, sitting defiantly at the soda counter at Woolworth’s. The store manager, soda jerks, and a good bit of White America, were trying to look busy, and ignore the boys, and failing miserably to do either. Bigotry in action was what was on full display that day. The empty counter in front of each, both demonstrating, and symbolizing, what the White power structure was prepared to deliver to the Black American. That had, in their minds, erred, and forgotten their place. Even as the sheepish faced Cop was doing his duty, by putting them in handcuffs. America, could no longer bring it’s collective self, to turn away. Or, to pretend racism didn’t exist. Or, if it did exist, it wasn’t that big of a deal. Just something that a few troublemakers, like that Baptist preacher, and his bunch of agitators were pushing. But this was different. The, specter of a major business refusing to serve these four well dressed, and behaved, Black men. Ezell Blair, Franklin McCain, Joseph McNeil, and David Richmon, was no march on Washington. It was however, in your face, reality. And an opportunity for Americans to cut through all the indifference, and become, if not a more perfect union, a much better one. And this is what the Arizona Legislature would turn the clock back to. Well, God damn them!

    • Independent1

      Hi Charle, it’s been long time since I’ve come across one of your posts; good to read your thoughts again!!

      All these GOP states constantly pushing one piece of unconstitutional legislation after another only serve to prove just how little the GOP knows about governance. If they’re not trying to run a government like a business, which it isn’t, they’re trying to run it like it was their home – which it obviously isn’t either.

      And when they’re not trying to ram through some piece of legislation in an unconstitutional effort to allow blatant discrimination or thievery, they’re crowing about some piece of federal legislation supposedly trampling on their constitutional rights when everything they do makes it clear that Republicans don’t have the slightest clue on what the Constituion is really all about.

      Not only do the Republican legislators in the US Congress know how to throw taxpayer money to the dogs with their childish antics in passing legislation that is clearly dead in the water, it appears that Republicans in the various state legislators around the country are as equally childish – enacting legislation that any imbecile would realize is absolutely unconstitutional and will also prove to be an expensive waste of time.

      • charleo1

        Hey Independent! To hear one has been missed by friends, is one of the best compliments a person will ever receive! So, thank you, and likewise. And, you are absolutely correct about the GOP. I don’t recall ever reading about such a time of wholesale, intentional abandonment by a Party to carry out it’s Constitutional duties, and responsibilities. Especially in these States, where they have unstoppable, majorities. Their economic policies have been every bit as biased, as their never ending attempts to systemize, and discipline the social behavior of the citizens within their States. In fact if we were to conclude, time, and effort reveal priorities. We could conclude, that establishing State authority over the private lives of the population in accordance with Fundamentalist Christian dogma, is the new role this new GOP, sees for the government of the future. This, replacing the regulatory, and social safety net programs, and other minimum standards, and regimens, the Federal Government has traditionally held final sway over. That would be my overall conclusion. After watching them at some length. That they act radical, because they are radical. And The Constitution becomes like the Bible. A fine source for cherry picking important phrases, taken out of context that seem to prop up, and underpin, their case for literally turning the Country into a very different place to live.

        • Independent1

          I couldn’t agree more; and what’s really maddening, at least to me, is that in cherry picking phrases out of the bible, many supposed Crhistians, especially those who seem to populate the GOP, most often focus on words from the Old Testament that have been obsoleted and no longer necessarily apply (as Paul said in Hebrews when he was telling the Hebrews about the new covenant Jesus had brought: Paul said in chapter 8 vs 13: “By calling this covenant new” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear.

          What is it that Evangelicals and many supposed Christians in the GOP don’t understand about the Old Testament having been long since obsoleted with respect to many of the guidelines God edicted for us to follow?? And which were clarified and sometimes changed by Jesus and documented for us by Mathew in chapters 5 through 7 of his gospel and many of Jesus’ other teachings?

          Or Evangelicals and many supposed Christians in the GOP focus on Paul’s words which he admitted in Corinthians were not always based on commandments from above but are rather based on his biases; some clearly not substantiated by the teachings of Jesus; such as Paul’s denigration of gay relationships when in all his teachings, Jesus never denigrated these relationships once. That’s not to say that God necessarily totally agrees with them, but I think Jesus never bringing the situation up, makes it clear that God wants to be the judge of them and that it’s not man’s place to do so.

          And Jesus made that last point clear in his parable about the Tares or weeds among the wheat (bad people among the good). When the apostles understood the meaning of his parable, they wanted to run out and start rounding up all the bad people; but Jesus said NO! Because in their haste to bring the bad people for punishment, they may also punish some of the good people. And that God would be the one to round them up when Jesus returned and bundle them up for the fire. So again, what is it that Evangelicals and many other supposed Christians in the GOP don’t understand about NO???

          It’s not any churches place to be edicting how people should be living their lives beyond those who belong to their particular faith. If churches would pay more attention to how people in their own church are living their lives, including the priests, preachers, ministers, etc., while spending less time focusing on how others are living their lives, the world would be a much less volatile, peaceful place in which to live.

          Similarly, if the GOP would focus on true governing and spend far less time on mandating social issues, as you pointed out, America would prosper far better which would improve the futures of all its people

          • charleo1

            It’s obvious why Christian Evangelicals, and
            Fundamentalists draw their ideology from the Old Testament, as opposed to the New. Jesus was a lover, and a supporter of mankind. He was the Liberal the Religious Right so opposes. But in the Old Testament, men were in charge. And God was hard lined, vengeful, and angry, God. He often wiped out entire cities, and was going to wipe out the entire mess, much like an omnipotent, O.J. Simpson. who did wipe out his world. God, in the OLd Testament often acts like a powerful, cuckold suitor, in His on again, off again relationship with mankind. The New Testament represents a reflective God. Who decides to take some responsibility for the tortured relationship. So yet again God is changing His mind about the clueless, little contraptions. And this time facing His own truth. That He had fallen in love with His pea brained, pets, He had first created out of boredom, for diversion. So yes! He was going to do it. But this was something that once done, couldn’t be undone. So, they are really going to need a lot work down there. Their inter-personal relationships, they way treat each other, is both sad, and ridiculous. And I have in mind just the guy to teach my little morons how to prepare to live like a God. Well, with that bit of magnanimity, God just outlived His usefulness to the Religious Right. They’re
            just not into giving anybody, anything.

  • old_blu

    “Religion-based bigotry is not synonymous with bigotry. It is a uniquely vile form of bigotry as the prejudice, hostility and discrimination behind the words are given a moral stamp of approval”

    • neeceoooo

      That is what is bad about this, they have been given a stamp of approval.

    • idamag

      I live in an area where the major religion does not believe in drinking coffee and tea. That would be like the grocers refusing to carry it in their grocery stores.

      • old_blu

        Exactly they are opening such a big can of worms here, I could refuse service to Christians, Muslims, or anyone I don’t agree with.
        I don’t see the Supreme Court letting this stand.

        • Blake Carper

          Could Muslims refuse service to women that don’t wear the burka under this law?

          • Independent1

            It would seem that they should be able to; but sheriff Arpaio and his trusty band of lawmen would probably come up with some caveat in the law that says only Arizona’s supposed Christians are allowed to discriminate.

  • plc97477

    This clearly goes against the constitutional requirement of separation of church and state.

    • old_blu

      Yeah, and that’s another thing. I really don’t see the Supreme Court letting this stand.

      • plc97477

        It is so unconstitutional that I don’t see the sepremes going along with it either.

  • daniel bostdorf

    The Arizona Senate “freedom” bill is blatantly unconstitutional..It obviously violates the requirement of equal protection of the laws by openly singling out a particular group of people and saying it’s OK to discriminate against them….. this effort is a blatant attempt at legally protecting discrimination.

    You don’t have to be a constitutional scholar to know this…

    The “finger in the wind” Govenor, Jan Brewer, the neo facist,is waffling as usual. On Friday she told CNN that the bill was a “very controversial piece of legislation. We know that. We know that it’s failed in a lot of states across the country…..But it’s very controversial, so I’ve got to get my hands around it,” Brewer went on to say she would likely decide by Feb. 28 whether to support the bill.

    Why wait?

    Here is a list of Landmark Supreme Court Cases.
    Religious Liberty: Establishment Clause

    Reda here:

    They will be adding tis case to the list as well…

    By the way….the Bill Of Rights Institute should be bookmark 🙂

    • daniel bostdorf


      • STMBT

        Call for a boycott on Arizona!! we could also put pressure on the NFL to move next years Super Bowl to a more friendler state. maybe that would send a message to the that UGLY republican Govner and her republican legisators
        BOYCOTT ARIZONA!!!!!!!!

        • daniel bostdorf
          • daniel bostdorf

            Takei’s letter:

            Dear Arizona,

            Congratulations. You are now the first state actually to pass a bill
            permitting businesses–even those open to the public–to refuse to provide
            service to LGBT people based on an individual’s “sincerely held
            religious belief.” This “turn away the gay” bill enshrines
            discrimination into the law. Your taxi drivers can refuse to carry us.
            Your hotels can refuse to house us. And your restaurants can refuse to
            serve us.

            Kansas tried to pass a similar law, but had the good sense to not let
            it come up for a vote. The quashing came only after the Kansas Chamber
            of Commerce and other traditional conservative groups came out strongly
            against the bill.

            But not you, Arizona. You’re willing to ostracize and marginalize
            LGBT people to score political points with the extreme right of the
            Republican Party. You say this bill protects “religious freedom,” but no
            one is fooled. When I was younger, people used “God’s Will” as a reason
            to keep the races separate, too. Make no mistake, this is the new
            segregation, yours is a Jim Crow law, and you are about to make yourself
            ground zero.

            This bill also saddens me deeply. Brad and I have strong ties to
            Arizona. Brad was born in Phoenix, and we vacation in Show Low. We have
            close friends and relatives in the state and spend weeks there annually.
            We even attended the Fourth of July Parade in Show Low in 2012, looking
            like a pair of Arizona ranchers.

            The law is breathtaking in its scope. It gives bigotry against us
            gays and lesbians a powerful and unprecedented weapon. But your
            mean-spirited representatives and senators know this. They also know
            that it is going to be struck down eventually by the courts. But they
            passed it anyway, just to make their hateful opinion of us crystal

            So let me make mine just as clear. If your Governor Jan Brewer signs
            this repugnant bill into law, make no mistake. We will not come. We will
            not spend. And we will urge everyone we know–from large corporations to
            small families on vacation–to boycott. Because you don’t deserve our
            dollars. Not one red cent.

            And maybe you just never learn. In 1989, you voted down recognition
            of the Martin Luther King holiday, and as a result, conventions and
            tourists boycotted the state, and the NFL moved the Superbowl to
            Pasadena. That was a $500 million mistake.

            So if our appeals to equality, fairness, and our basic right to live
            in a civil society without doors being slammed in our face for being who
            we are don’t move you, I’ll bet a big hit to your pocketbook and state
            coffers will.

            George Takei

          • daniel bostdorf


  • dljen

    I can only hope Arizona gets slapped with a huge lawsuit. You can only teach the “family values” crowd by hitting them in the wallet.

  • Daniel Jones

    If any “religious” measure restricting LGBT or Muslims would cause howls of outrage if you substitute a term for African-Americans, Hispanics, or Asian-Americans, throw it OUT.