Randy Blaser’s column “Arizona religious protection bill was downright un-Christian” (March 6) is replete with egregious distortions. Reading the piece leaves one wondering whether Blaser even read SB 1062.
Blaser states it would have legalized discrimination. However, a simple reading of the two-page bill reveals that not once does the bill mention gays or same-sex ceremonies. Moreover, the bill does not say business owners can discriminate against anyone.
The bill provides that business owners can assert in a court case a defense that their religious liberty is being violated. To win, they must show a substantial burden on a sincere religious practice. The bill leaves it up to the courts to decide.
The underlying issue is the classic balancing of religious liberty as protected by the Constitution and the desire of government to prevent unjust discrimination.
Should a restaurant owner have the right to not to sell food to a homosexual customer? Applying the standard in SB 1062, we would expect a court to see that as blatant discrimination and hold against the restaurant owner. But should a restaurant owner have the right to not cater a homosexual wedding ceremony if the owner’s participation would violate his sincere religious belief? Here the court may very well find the restaurant owner should not be compelled if he disagrees on religious grounds.
Think about a local white supremacy group that wants a black restaurant owner to cater a Ku Klux Klan rally. I don’t want the government telling him he has to cater the KKK rally.
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