Arizona

‘Right to Discriminate’ Bills, Meet Hobby Lobby

Last month, as Arizona governor Jan Brewer deliberated whether to sign or veto a law that would have allowed businesses to discriminate against LGBT customers, the public outcry was immense. Senators Jeff Flake and John McCain shared their opposition via Twitter. Companies including American Airlines, Apple, and AT&T urged a veto. Multiple state senators who had voted for SB 1062 asked Gov. Brewer to veto it. When she did, advocacy groups praised the decision and many in Arizona and across the country breathed a well-deserved sigh of relief.

But it turns out that sigh may have been premature.

This morning the Supreme Court will hear arguments in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., a case that, on its face, appears to be dealing with a different issue – women’s access to contraception – but in fact grapples with some of the same core issues in play with “right to discriminate” bills like Arizona’s. In the Hobby Lobby case, as in its companion case Conestoga Wood Specialities v. Sebelius, corporations are trying to avoid complying with the contraception mandate of the Affordable Care Act. But both the Supreme Court cases and the “right to discriminate” bills address the question of whether for-profit corporations have religious rights and can use those “rights” in a way that brings harm to others. 

Comparing the vetoed Arizona bill to efforts to let companies deny covering contraception, National Women’s Law Center vice president Emily Martin put it like this: “What you’re seeing in both cases are corporations asserting the right to break the law in the name of religion, even if it results in harm and discrimination for third parties.” And The New Yorker’s Jeffrey Toobin noted,

Indeed, a victory for Hobby Lobby might bring in an Arizona-style rule through the back door….The Arizona law and the Hobby Lobby case represent two sides of the same coin. Both assert that the invocation of a religious belief allows a company to opt out of a government requirement that applies to everyone else.

But corporations have never had religious rights, and as affiliate PFAW Foundation senior fellow Jamie Raskin wrote in a recent report, that concept is simply “absurd.”

[I]t is time for the Court to restore some reality to the conversation.  Business corporations do not belong to religions and they do not worship God.  We do not protect anyone’s religious free exercise rights by denying millions of women workers access to contraception.

PFAW

AZ Attorney General Tom Horne & Former Rep. JD Hayworth Joke About Restoring Voting Rights to Ex-Offenders

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne, along with his ally Kris Kobach , secretary of state of Kansas, won a big voter suppression victory last week when a federal court ruled that the two states can require their residents to present extra documentation of citizenship to vote in federal elections.

In an interview late last week, Horne and former Arizona congressman J.D. Hayworth (now a NewsMax host) delved into another voter suppression topic: the long-term or permanent disenfranchisement of people who have served time for felonies.

And they found it hilarious:

The two got on the topic when Hayworth’s fellow Newsmax host asked Horne about a recent case in Iowa in which a jury acquitted a woman with a prior felony drug conviction didn’t know she had lost her right to vote.

Horne joked that if voting rights are restored to ex-offenders, “I can just picture politicians appealing to the convicted felons’ vote by saying that they’ll legalize bank robbery or whatever.”

Hayworth agreed: “The politician in me suddenly thinks that in a felon-eligible society, no one can run for attorney general and say, ‘I’m tough on crime,’ because that would be counter-productive with the felon vote.”

Arizona is one of ten states that permanently bars at least some people with felony convictions from voting. Because of harsh penalties for drug crimes and racial sentencing disparities , such laws disproportionately affect African Americans; the Sentencing Project estimates that such laws have made 1 of every 13 African Americans ineligible to vote.

A growing bipartisan movement – including President Obama, Sen. Rand Paul, Rick Santorum, and former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell – has sought to restore voting rights to people who have served their time for felony convictions.

 

 

Santorum 'Absolutely' Would Have Voted For Arizona's Discrimination Legislation

When Rick Santorum spoke at CPAC a few weeks ago, he sat down for an interview with the National Review where he was asked about the importance of religious liberty and Gov. Jan Brewer's veto of legislation that would have protected business owners who discriminated against gay customers.

Santorum declared that religious liberty was of the utmost importance because the freedom of conscience is "the trunk upon which all other branches of rights flow from" and warned that the government has been systemically suppressing that right.

Host Patrick Brennan then noted that Republicans like Mitt Romney and John McCain had openly opposed the discrimination legislation in Arizona and asked Santorum whether or not he would have supported it. 

Not surprisingly, Santorum did not hesitate to answer, declaring immediately that he "absolutely" would have voted for such legislation:

Kobach Mocked 'Procrastinators' Disenfranchised By His Voter ID Law, Claimed 'Nobody's Rights Have Been Suspended'

Yesterday, Kansas secretary of state Kris Kobach and Arizona attorney general Tom Horne scored a big victory in federal court when a Kansas district court judge ruled that federal voter registration forms in both states must require voters to show proof of citizenship.

The proof-of-citizenship requirement, which Kobach shepherded through his state’s legislature, has created a huge mess, leaving the registrations suspended of nearly 16,000 voters who hadn’t or couldn’t provide the necessary documents.

Throughout the process, Kobach has dismissed the concerns of voting rights advocates and the growing chorus of protest from elections officials, newspaper editorial boards and others in Kansas. When 12,000 voters had their registration thrown in limbo, Kobach said it wasn’t a “major problem” because it was “only a tiny percentage” of the total voting population. (By contrast, the supposed reason for the law was to prevent a handful of fraudulent votes cast over a dozen years). When it was announced that only 72 percent of registered voters were able to meet the new requirement, Kobach boasted that “that’s actually an extraordinarily high percentage” and blamed “procrastination” for the 28 percent without complete registrations.

In a speech that Kobach gave in January to the Kansas Sovereignty Coalition, a Tenth Amendment group, Kobach mocked the Kansans – then totalling 19,000 – whose voter registrations were in limbo as "the 28 percent procrastinators," claiming that “nobody’s been denied any rights.”

“Nobody’s rights have been suspended,” he claimed. “Those 19,000 people haven’t completed their registration yet. They can complete it tomorrow and vote tomorrow if they want to. Nobody’s been denied any rights, they just haven’t finished it yet.”

“Oh and by the way, 72 percent of the people who have registered to vote since January 1, 2013, have completed their application and have sent in proof of citizenship. So those are the 28 percent procrastinators.”

“We should not get alarmed at all by the number that the left continually throws around,” he said.

Tellingly, when Kobach first mentions “voting rights,” and audience member loudly corrects him: “privilege, privilege.”

Urgent Action Needed on Georgia Early Voting Bill on Last Day of Legislative Session

Updated March 21: Georgia's legislative session closed without final action being taken on HB 891. According to Facing South, "House sponsors declined to take up a vote on the revised bill, and HB 891 was dead." The report quotes Kelli Persons of League of Women Voters of Georgia, "The message here is that it's very important . . . to pay attention to what's happening at the local level," in reference to the bill's impact on municipal early voting.
PFAW

Farah: Jan Brewer Should 'Resign In Disgrace' For Vetoing Anti-Gay Segregation Bill

When Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed her state’s “right-to-discriminate” bill, WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah was so upset that he said her decision would lead to the end of freedom.

Today, Farah writes that Brewer “should resign in disgrace,” warning that now “all of the freedoms we have known in the U.S. for 238 years could vanish overnight.”

Farah writes that opposition to the anti-gay segregation bill proves that “the left hates religion” and “hates God,” and is bent on eroding the “religious freedom, press freedom and free speech” by leading a “statist, socialist, anti-American political onslaught.”

Here’s the first problem: The left hates religion. It hates God. It doesn’t recognize any behavior as sinful, with the possible exception of voting Republican. To undermine all it hates, it pushes the political envelope. It divides people up into groups rather than recognizing all people as individuals made in the image of God. It then serves up special privileges for groups as a way of buying their votes.

Here’s the second problem: The left excoriates and vilifies its opponents when they take positions contrary to their own. They are labeled racists and homophobes and worse. Slowly but surely, they know some of their opponents will do almost anything to escape the ad hominem attacks and hateful labeling.

Here’s the third problem: Non-left politicians who should be counted on to do the right thing will cave on almost any issue under that kind of fire.

That’s what happened when Jan Brewer capitulated on the freedom of religion bill known as Senate Bill 1062, which offered clear protection for people who do not want to be coerced into actions or behavior that violates their moral and religious precepts.



So why was the left so threatened by this bill?

For the same reason they detest the Constitution’s protections of religious freedom, press freedom and free speech.

They don’t believe in liberty!

That’s why the First Amendment is really in danger in America today. We could lose it very quickly. That’s why the Second Amendment is constantly threatened and under siege by the left. That’s why, ultimately, all of the freedoms we have known in the U.S. for 238 years could vanish overnight unless Americans awaken quickly and completely and stop sleepwalking through life.



Jan Brewer surrendered to the lies, the insults and the deliberate distortions. She should resign in disgrace.



The Constitution is on life support because there are so few men and women with courage, principle and a sense of right and wrong in politics today in the Republican Party, which, sadly, represents the only hope of reversing the statist, socialist, anti-American political onslaught.

Ralph Reed Likens Obama To George Wallace: 'Let Those Children Go!'

Speaking at CPAC, today, Ralph Reed defended Louisiana’s constitutionally dubious voucher program -- which the Department of Justice warned was resegregating schools -- by comparing President Obama to notorious segregationist George Wallace.

The Faith and Freedom Coalition head told CPAC today that Obama was harming black children and lifted from the spiritual “Go Down, Moses,” to tell Obama: “Let those children go!

Reed also chastised “left-wing bullies” for defeating Arizona’s right-to-discriminate bill and completely misrepresented the Little Sisters of the Poor case.

Reed, who has been embroiled in an ethics scandal over conning Native American casinos, also demanded that Attorney General Eric Holder face impeachment for his pro-marriage equality stance.

Why the Defeat of Arizona’s “Right to Discriminate” Bill Matters

Ryan Hurst is the membership services program coordinator for affiliate People For the American Way Foundation’s Young Elected Officials Network.

Last week, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoed SB 1062, a bill that would have made it legal for businesses and employers to discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people if it was due to a “deeply held religious belief.” Many Arizonans and national leaders on both sides of the aisle vehemently opposed it, including members of affiliate People For the American Way Foundation’s Young Elected Officials (YEO) Network.  US Representative Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-09) and Arizona State Senate Democratic Leader Anna Tovar spoke out on MSNBC. Tovar also said in a statement:

SB 1062 permits discrimination under the guise of religious freedom. 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.

Supporters of SB 1062 and legislation like it have argued that it is necessary to protect the “right” of business owners to deny services to LGBT Americans. Why does fighting this flawed assumption matter? Why would LGBT Americans want to patronize a business that is trying to discriminate against them?

It matters because our values define who we are as a people.  Do we want to be an America that permits discrimination because we disagree with someone? An America that legislates away the dignity of a group of our fellow citizens? The desire to have and feel dignity is something that reaches into our very core. It is why African American students refused to get up from lunch counters during the civil rights movement. Though the circumstances behind those heroic acts were different, at least one of the core motivating factors is the same – the desire to have dignity and be valued as a human being.

We as a nation decided to set precedent as a result of the civil rights movement, that we would not allow ourselves to be defined by hate and ignorance, and that discrimination based on race, gender, disability, national origin, and religion would not be tolerated. Why would we hold love to a different standard? Like religion, it is deeply personal and central to who we are, and our freedom regarding that area of our lives is recognized as basic to the very concept of liberty. And we can no more change who we love than change our race, sex, or national origin.

Unfortunately Arizona was not alone in proposing a bill that would allow businesses to deny services to LGBT Americans. In all, 12 states had similar bills simultaneously working their way through their state legislatures. In the fallout from SB 1062, most of these states quietly killed these bills with little fanfare. But a few states like Idaho, Mississippi, and South Dakota are still considering similar legislation, and Oregon is even considering a ballot initiative.

It is time for us as a country to be bold and unapologetic about our rejection of discrimination. It is important for us to have conversations about why our brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, and neighbors and friends deserve dignity and equality. We must not be afraid to speak out in opposition to these bills if they are introduced in our state, and we must exercise our right to vote by removing elected officials from office that choose to support legislation that diminishes the dignity of others.
 

PFAW

A Small, But Important, Step Towards Common Sense in Judicial Confirmation Process

Last week, in advance of a Senate Judiciary Committee vote on six Arizona district court nominees, senior legislative counsel Paul Gordon asked if Arizona Senators Jeff Flake and John McCain would be able to convince their Republican colleagues to break what has become their practice of routinely delaying nominees’ votes. Since 2009, only five of President Obama’s judicial nominees had been allowed to have their committee votes cast without delay. Gordon urged the Senators to forgo this obstruction, especially given the enormous caseload in Arizona that is impeding the operation of the Arizona district court that has 6 of its 13 seats vacant. 

Yesterday, in a departure from their practice, the Committee actually voted on the nominees. 91. 5 KJAZZ reported:

“The liberal advocacy group People for the American Way called this a step toward fixing the judicial vacancy rate in Arizona, but noted that there are 28 people awaiting confirmation ahead of these nominees.”

Executive vice president Marge Baker also commented on the turn of events in an interview with Cronkite News:

“It wasn’t sustainable to keep delaying this process, and it seems that Arizona senators finally heeded reason. Arizona has had a terrible judicial vacancy rate. This is an important step towards fixing it.”

This was a relief for the state of Arizona, as well as a nice change of pace for Senate Republicans. But as a judicial vacancy crisis continues in Arizona and across the country, the work is far from over.

PFAW

Flake and McCain's Next Steps for AZ Nominees

Will Arizona's senators try to convince their GOP colleagues to eliminate the bottleneck of stalled nominees who are ahead of six Arizona nominees?
PFAW

PFAW Applauds Veto of Arizona Anti-Gay Discrimination Bill

WASHINGTON – In response to Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s decision to veto Senate Bill 1062, a measure that would have allowed businesses to discriminate against LGBT customers, People For the American Way president Michael Keegan released the following statement:

“Almost four years after Arizona shocked the country with its anti-immigrant ‘show me your papers’ law, yesterday Governor Brewer avoided making her state the national leader, once again, in state-sponsored discrimination.

“In Arizona and across the country, Americans can see through the Right’s continued attempts to cloak anti-gay bigotry in the language of First Amendment rights. We hope that the pushback Arizona received this week will be a message, loud and clear, to the states with similar bills pending. Americans don’t want to live in a country where businesses have free rein to post a ‘No Gays’ sign.”

In the past week, tens of thousands of PFAW members and activists spoke out and urged Governor Brewer to veto the bill.

###

Tea Party Nation: Brewer's Veto Imposed 'Slavery,' Mandatory Penis Cakes For 'Homosexual Weddings'

Judson Phillips, president of Tea Party Nation, is a little upset about Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer’s decision last night to veto a bill that would have expanded the ability of business owners to discriminate against LGBT people and others.

“Tyranny is on the march,” Phillips declares in a piece on the TPN website that he also emailed to members of the group, adding that business owners who are not allowed to discriminate against gays and lesbians are “slaves” to the “great liberal state,” aided by “French Republicans” like Brewer.

“The left and the homosexual lobby are both pushing slavery using the Orwellian concepts of ‘tolerance’ and ‘inclusiveness,’” he writes.

Phillips then wonders if business owners will be forced to “create a cake for a homosexual wedding that has a giant phallic symbol on it,” “create pastries for a homosexual wedding in the shape of genitallia [sic],” or “photograph a homosexual wedding where the participants decide they want to be nude or engage in sexual behavior.”

The left and the homosexual lobby in America went into overdrive to kill this bill.  Conservatives rallied for this bill and Governor Brewer opted for cowardice instead of courage.

Why is this bill so important and what did it mean for not only Arizona but America?
The issue can be boiled down to one word: Freedom.

A free man or woman controls their labor.  A slave has no control over their labor.  A free man or woman decides who they will work for and under what conditions.  The slave cannot.

The left and the homosexual lobby are both pushing slavery using the Orwellian concepts of “tolerance” and “inclusiveness.”

Immediately the left and the homosexual lobby went into high dudgeon.  Arizona’s SB1062 must be defeated because Americans really are no longer free and must be forced to serve the great liberal state, regardless of their beliefs.

The storm rose against Arizona and Jan Brewer proved she was no Ronald Reagan.  She has an honored place in the ranks of the French Republicans.

The left loves to come up with absurd hypotheticals to scream that there must be compliance with their fascism, so how about a couple from our side.  

Should a devote baker be required to create a cake for a homosexual wedding that has a giant phallic symbol on it or should a baker be required to create pastries for a homosexual wedding in the shape of genitallia [sic]?  Or should a photographer be required to photograph a homosexual wedding where the participants decide they want to be nude or engage in sexual behavior?  Would they force a Jewish photographer to work a Klan or Nazi event? How about forcing a Muslim caterer to work a pork barbeque dinner?

...

SB1062 is a bigger story than simply the story of a cowardly governor who has no core beliefs.
SB1062 is the story of liberalism at work in America.

Liberalism is the paranoid belief that leftists have that somewhere, someone may be thinking for themselves.  It is the tyrannical belief that no deviation in belief is allowed from the decreed orthodoxy.

It is the antithesis of liberty.

It is tyranny on the march.
 

Fischer: Opposition To Arizona's Legal Discrimination Law Is Jim Crow Discrimination Against Christians

On his radio program today, Bryan Fischer offered up another defense of the Arizona law that would allow businesses to legally discriminate against gay customers in the name of protecting "religious liberty," declaring that opposition to the law is itself an effort to institute Jim Crow laws that discriminate against Christians.

"Yeah, Jim Crow is back," Fischer said, "but it's because of the work of Big Gay and their allies, including the NFL."

Claiming that the NFL has threatened to move the Super Bowl from Arizona if Gov. Jan Brewer does not "bow the knee to the God of Gayness" and veto the legislation, Fischer asserted that the NFL is essentially trying to segregate Arizona from the rest of society.

"In other words, what the NFL is saying to Arizona [is that] if you don't bow the knee to the God of Gayness, you cannot sit at our lunch counter. Now that, ladies and gentlemen, is Jim Crow":

Arizona Tea Party Group Defends SB 1062: 'The First Amendment Protects Only The Practice Of The Christian Faith'

An Arizona-based Tea Party group is rallying around the state’s ‘right-to-discriminate’ legislation, SB 1062, by claiming that “the First Amendment protects only the practice of the Christian faith.”

The Williams Tea Party of Coconino County defended the anti-gay bill on its website, alleging that “the First Amendment protects only the practice of the Christian faith” and that the First Amendment “protects the right of those of the Christian faith to not serve those who are clearly abhorrent to that faith.”

The group also attacked a pastor who joined a protest against the bill, saying that the pastor must not have read the Bible.

The First Amendment protects only the practice of the Christian faith.

The Arizona Republic gathered the twenty, or so, protestors against S.B. 1062 close together for a photo to place on the front cover of their Thursday edition. The gathering together is an attempt to show that thousands of protestors came to their demonstration.

In the center of the photo they placed a guy who just happens to be able to afford the tab-collar clergy shirt with a sign about how religions should be against this legislation. I am not sure from which Internet “U” this person obtained his certification, but they certainly had no requirement to read the Bible.

The “columnists” at the Republic are in full swing typing out their indignation at the “discrimination.”

Of course, when you are dealing with a group of people who get their Constitutional training from the Salon and Russia Today web sites, it is difficult for them to understand that this legislation should never have been written. You see, there is already a law that protects the right of those of the Christian faith to not serve those who are clearly abhorrent to that faith.

It’s called the First Amendment.



The First Amendment was meant only to protect the Christian faith. When the founders spoke of religion, they meant the Christian religion. They did not have to keep saying the Christian religion because everyone knew that is what they were talking about.

Gohmert Endorses Arizona Anti-Gay Bill For Challenging 'The Religion Of Secularism'

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) says he is a fan of the Arizona bill that would pave the way for legal anti-gay discrimination by businesses. Speaking today with Janet Mefferd, Gohmert said that the law would merely uphold constitutional principles.

“These are religious beliefs and how have we gotten so far afield from the Constitution that we say, well if you’re not willing to embrace the liberal beliefs that we have then your religious beliefs are not protected,” Gohmert said. “It doesn’t say that in the Frist Amendment, it avoids the establishment of a religion. Well some are establishing the religion of secularism and everybody else’s religion has just got to basically go to blazes.”

He also claimed President Obama would have lost the 2008 election if he had supported marriage equality then: “Let’s face it, if the president had said he believed marriage was between two men and two women back when he and [John] McCain were being interviewed in California, he would never have won the first election. But he changed his stated belief and that got him elected and once in it’s easier to get re-elected to a second term.”

Gohmert also claimed that the gay rights movement is undermining the Civil Rights Movement and moved the U.S. away from God.

“Some of them are very shocked, they participated in the Civil Rights Movement and then to turn around and have gay rights folks saying now ‘you can’t practice your religious beliefs,’ wait a minute, wait a minute, we stood up for you and your beliefs and now you’re saying we can’t stand up for our beliefs because they conflict with you? That’s now what freedom is about.”

Glenn Beck Supports Arizona's Legal Discrimination Law: 'That's Freedom'

Do you recall the story Glenn Beck told a few years back when he traveled to New York City and he was treated badly when he dined in several restaurants and then treated even worse on his flight back to Texas?

Beck railed about it on his program the following week, repeatedly complaining that he was treated "as a subhuman," stating that he "just wanted to be treated as a human" who was worthy of dignity and respect:

I’m tired of being treated as a criminal, a disease, mentally challenged, stupid, or subhuman just because I happen to believe that the founders weren’t racists, that the Constitution was and still is inspired and the greatest document for government ever created, that the military is not full of a bunch of baby‑killers, or that we shouldn’t spend the money that we don’t have, or that we should stick up for the little guy, the small business owner, that the corrupt businessman should go to jail and that capitalism is still the best system to lift people out of poverty. I will not shy away from saying proudly that I believe in God, that I believe churchgoers in all churches get a bad rap. We are good people and the reason, Christians are the reason the Nazis were stopped, slavery was stopped, and man was eventually set free all over the planet. It was Christians that did it. I’m sorry that you might find that offensive, or that I ‑‑ that I go to church and you find that offensive, or that I happen to go to the wrong church and you find that offensive. But I will not apologize for what I believe in or who I am. Because what I believe in compels me to stand up for you and your right to be who you are. I’d just like to be treated with a little dignity along the way.

Given that experience, you'd think that he would be opposed to the Arizona legislation that would allow business to discriminate against gay customers (or anyone else, for that matter) in the name of "religious liberty," would you not?

Well, you'd be wrong, as he voiced his support for it during yesterday's morning meeting, saying that while he doesn't necessarily like it, he doesn't see anything hateful about it.

"I don't like that world," Beck said, "where everybody is able to say 'I'm not going to serve your kind' but that's freedom. That's freedom. Freedom is ugly":

Cathi Herrod: Soldiers Fought Wars To Preserve Right To Discriminate Against Gays

The president of a right-wing Arizona group that’s advocating for the state’s gay segregation bill said yesterday that the extremist legislation is simply an expression of the religious freedom that American service members fight to preserve.

Speaking withto Family Research Council president Tony Perkins on yesterday’s edition of Washington Watch, Cathi Herrod of the Center for Arizona Policy accused the bill’s opponents of “incredible hostility to religion.”

“Our first freedom, our ability to live out our religious belief as our founders intended, as wars have been fought for our right to live out our religious belief, that is what is very much under attack,” Herrod said, adding that she is shocked that people would oppose the right-to-discriminate bill. “This was non-controversial until the last four or five days.”

She told Perkins that listeners should “pray for a miracle and to pray for an intervention” for the governor to sign the legislation.

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