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New Arizona GOP Bill Would Allow Judges To Discriminate Against Same-Sex Couples

by David Badash on February 28, 2014

in Discrimination,News,Politics,Religion

Post image for New Arizona GOP Bill Would Allow Judges To Discriminate Against Same-Sex Couples

The Arizona GOP is far from done trying to allow discrimination against gay people. Despite a strong tongue-lashing from Republican Governor Jan Brewer this week when she vetoed a wide-sweeping bill that would have allowed anyone to discriminate against anyone else if they claimed not doing so would compromise their religious liberty, House Republicans in two committees have passed yet another anti-gay discriminatory bill shrouded in “religious freedom.”

Four weeks ago to the day, HB-2481 was introduced into the Arizona House. It now has 35 sponsors and has passed both the House Government Committee and the House Rules Committee.

HB-2481 has a working title of “Arizona’s First Freedom Act,” and pertains to “religious beliefs; solemnization of marriages.” It “prohibits government from requiring a minister to solemnize a marriage that is inconsistent with the minister’s sincerely held religious beliefs.”

While most people on either side of the same-sex marriage fence wouldn’t oppose that, the problem is this portion of the bill:

“Defines minister as an individual who is authorized to solemnize a marriage pursuant to statute.”

That includes, as Talking Points Memo reports, “state and local judges as well as justices of the peace and members of the clergy.”

In other words, the state would be yet again, supporting discrimination.

Ironically, Arizona does not yet offer the right of marriage to same-sex couples, so this bill would, under Gov. Jan Brewer’s test, which she used to veto SB-1062, automatically fail.

But that’s clearly not stopping Arizona Republicans from trying.

The bill would still need to pass the House and head over to the Senate.

Hold on — let’s see how far this one gets.

Image by mrseductive via Instagram

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keithff February 28, 2014 at 4:46 pm

One cannot understand their need to pass stupid bills. all to protect a few people. what about the rest of the poopulation

Abby February 28, 2014 at 4:52 pm

This bill isn't new and judges already have the right to refuse to perform any weddings for any reason. This bill changes nothing. What it does do is take away one of the major arguments against marriage equality: that ministers or churches will be required to perform same sex marriages that are contrary to their religious beliefs. Every state bill legalizing same sex marriage has contained a similar provision. Therefore, most of us working on these issues here in Arizona are not opposing this bill.

It will not be helpful if people outside the state start making a big stink about this bill.

weshlovrcm February 28, 2014 at 5:01 pm

More sinful efforts from the "tolerant" right to redefine discrimination, prejudice and segregation as "religious beliefs."

SeanLiberty13 February 28, 2014 at 5:39 pm

Then Arizona government has NO legal right to tax same-gender couples to pay the salaries/paychecks of those judges. Those judges are employees of LGBT citizens. Enough is enough, government employees will comply to the wants and needs of their employers willingly or they will be forced to physically, whether they like or not.

doug1408 February 28, 2014 at 8:34 pm

Removed from office yes.
Or they will be forced to physically, whether they like or not ,no that sounds just like the rights propaganda.

labman57 February 28, 2014 at 9:51 pm

'Einsteinian' insanity reigns supreme in Republican-controlled legislatures.

tgflux March 1, 2014 at 2:32 am


Xaratherus March 2, 2014 at 8:16 pm

The way that this bill is worded goes a step back in history even beyond its effects on homosexuals:

The first section amended lists all of the protected classes in the state of Arizona; those include race, religion, gender, and so on (not orientation). It then states that CHURCHES are not affected by those protections in regards to marriages that they perform.

To quote from the bill: "Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) § 41-1442 deems discrimination in places of public accommodation against any person because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin or ancestry unlawful."

It then goes on to say:

"[This provision] Specifies that a church is not required to ecumenically recognize, facilitate or solemnize a marriage that is inconsistent with the sincerely held religious belief, doctrine or tenet of the church."

In other words, a church is not required to perform a marriage if it disagrees based on any of the protected characteristics.

It's effectively – intentionally or unintentionally – granting churches the right to implement anti-miscegenation laws again.

CajunJock March 4, 2014 at 2:58 am

Well just like SB-1062 – HB – 2481 will not pass as it crosses Gov. Jan Brewer's desk any way… She will veto the BILL if she hasn't done so yet…!!! Religious Acts belong inside of The Churches and in your homes and in your hearts… Jesus would have never acted this way if HE was walking through Arizona right now… Because of the way he would be dressed and his long hair and bearded face and sandals on HIS feet… All you religious people would take one look at HIM and turn Him away in a blink of an eye… None of you would even recognize HIM…!!!

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