NOM BLOG

Just the Facts: What Arizona's Religious Liberty Bill Actually Says

 

With the media buzz surrounding Arizona's SB1062, it's no wonder there is so much confusion and misinformation about the contents of the bill. Time for a quick fact check...

SB 1062As Ed Whelen points out today in the National Review Online, SB1062 does NOT mention, much less single out, gays or same-sex ceremonies. Rather, the bill would simply amend Arizona’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act "to address two ambiguities that have been the subject of litigation under other RFRAs."

Douglas Laycock, along with nearly a dozen law professors from Harvard, Stanford, Notre Dame and other top institutions, writes in a letter to Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer:

It would provide that people are covered when state or local government requires them to violate their religion in the conduct of their business, and it would provide that people are covered when sued by a private citizen invoking state or local law to demand that they violate their religion.

But nothing in the amendment would say who wins in either of these cases. The person invoking RFRA would still have to prove that he had a sincere religious belief and that state or local government was imposing a substantial burden on his exercise of that religious belief.

...to be clear: SB1062 does not say that businesses can discriminate for religious reasons. It says that business people can assert a claim or defense under RFRA, in any kind of case (discrimination cases are not even mentioned, although they would be included), that they have the burden of proving a substantial burden on a sincere religious practice, that the government or the person suing them has the burden of proof on compelling government interest, and that the state courts in Arizona make the final decision.

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