Arizona seems to have found itself in the hotbed of the culture wars again . This time with legislation defending religious freedom , aimed at potential lawsuits it appears regarding religious conscience and gay marriage . Interestingly enough despite so much rhetoric from both sides , Arizona has no state law defending sexual orientation or supporting gay marriage . It changes nothing basically . Arizona already can discriminate against homosexuals , hence all the media concern for a sudden wave of stoning and harsh treatment is somewhat irrelevant to the issue .
What does the law do ?
First the law changes the definition of “person” under the statutes from “a religious assembly or institution” to “any individual, association, partnership, corporation, church, religious assembly or institution or other business organization that the person’s religious beliefs motivated their actions, that the person is sincerely religious, and that state action or the lawsuit burdens the exercise of religion.
So unlike our state of Washington which has seen its authority to mandate a business owner to actually participate in the wedding of a gay couple , providing services that directly link to the marriage ceremony and celebration by requiring their personal participation, it would exempt those people that may attend churches that they did exempt from providing marriage services also . This is the point of contention , the church as an institution is exempt , but now also the beliefs of the individuals of that church are also exempted .
Second the law sets several benchmarks for someone to meet if they claim religion as a defense in a lawsuit: that the person’s religious beliefs motivated their actions, that the person is sincerely religious, and that state action or the lawsuit burdens the exercise of religion.
Mitt Romney , John McCain and other well known Republicans have come out against the law . Basically the debate has had little with the law or the basic fact it changes nothing in how Arizona now can deal with the related issues . Politics is often perception , and the basic fact here is once again the right appears to be promoting intolerance as this story is reported on . Liberalism has used perception and emotional appeal over facts in recent years .
Our nation has a history of supporting the First Amendment , recently it has become a tool to marginalize religious liberty and those of Faith as ignorant , intolerant , anti science and close minded . Personally I would not have a problem going to a gay wedding , or supporting a friend who got married . But I do have a problem with a government that would mandate myself to do so . It is fascism when government uses private businesses to carry out its will on the people instead of defending the right of those people to enjoy their God Given Rights of Freedom .