Mike Huckabee News
Feb 26 2014
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer came under intense pressure this week to veto a bill to protect religious freedom. It was inspired by cases of business people being sued for refusing to provide services for same-sex weddings that violated their religious beliefs. To be clear: they said they were fine with serving gay customers, they just didn’t want to be forced to participate in gay marriages. There’s been a media frenzy over the Arizona bill, depicting it as an attempt to legalize anti-gay discrimination. Activists conjured up an image of bigoted business owners slamming their doors in the faces of thousands of gay customers, in a new rainbow version of Jim Crow. It was so ugly, several Republicans who supported the bill changed their minds and asked the Governor to veto it.
What nobody seemed to do was actually read the bill. So the Christian Post asked some legal experts to do just that. They say it’s actually a minor change to the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act that’s already been on the books for 15 years. Contrary to media reports, in some ways, it would actually make discrimination harder. It does expand the types of businesses that can cite religious grounds for refusal to provide service. But it also requires them to prove they hold a sincere, legitimate religious belief that would suffer a serious burden. And if not, then why would a business turn away any customers in this economy? In fact, there already is a federal law, also called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, that limits how Washington can violate people’s religious beliefs. There’s never been a single court case under it involving a business owner who refused service to gay customers. And it’s been around for 21 years. Ever since it passed unanimously in a Democratic House and 97 to 3 in a Democratic Senate, and was signed by Bill Clinton. So on close examination, this seems to be a lot of outrage over very little. But then, we’ve kind of made it a habit lately to pass bills first, then read them later.