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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