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Category Archives: Arizona

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.

Read more.

TAKE ACTION: Support the Protection of Conscience

National Organization for Marriage

Dear Marriage Supporter,

If there's one thing we've learned over the years from witnessing the redefinition of marriage in several states and in other places around the world, it is that there is an inevitable impasse between the genderless marriage regime and the conscience rights of those who believe in marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Wherever marriage is redefined, the story is the same: florists, photographers, bakers, caterers, social hall owners — anyone who runs a business that caters to the celebration of nuptials — these individuals are forced to choose between their deeply held beliefs about marriage and the prospect of being forced out of business by onerous lawsuits claiming 'discrimination.'

So I'm asking you to take action today to support two state-level pieces of legislation which aim to protect individuals and their businesses from legal reprisals for declining to participate in same-sex 'marriages.' The bills are pending in Arizona and Kansas.

Urge Arizona Governor Jan Brewer to Sign the Religious Freedom Restoration Act

Both the Arizona Senate and House have approved a bill that would prevent business owners from being targeted in lawsuits for declining to participate in same-sex wedding celebrations on the grounds of religious objections.

With the spate of lawsuits we've seen around the country brought against business owners who have declined service for same-sex 'marriage' celebrations, we know how critical legislation of this nature is to protect the First Amendment rights of people of faith.

The Arizona legislature should be commended for passing this crucial bill, and now we must ask Governor Brewer to sign it immediately into law!

Unfortunately, another bill of a similar nature in Kansas is stalled in the legislature and might not even make it to the Governor's desk — unless we speak up!

Urge Senate President Susan Wagle to Allow a Vote on HB 2453!

The bill in Kansas does essentially the same thing as the one in Arizona: it protects people of faith from onerous lawsuits that threaten their livelihood simply because they would decline to lend their support to the idea of genderless marriage.

The Senate leader, Susan Wagle, is refusing to allow the bill to proceed to committee hearing and a vote on the floor after it was passed in the House. She needs to hear from you today that this bill deserves hearing by the Senate and a straight vote!

Even though these two bills are at the state level, they are important to a larger debate going on nationwide about the rights of individuals and businesses who hold to the idea that marriage is solely the union of a man and a woman. Passage of this legislation will send an important message that people of faith need such protections and that the rights of conscious must be firmly protected by our lawmakers!

So please take action today on this important issue, and when you have done so forward this email to your family and friends using the buttons below so that these lawmakers hear in no uncertain terms that religious people in America will not consent to be bullied or coerced into violating their consciences to please a radical movement bent on reshaping marriage and family!

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Thanks for standing with us to protect marriage and the faith communities that sustain it.

Faithfully,

Brian S. Brown

9th Circuit Case Pending Before SCOTUS Could Threaten State Marriage Laws

FoxNews quotes NOM's Chairman of the Board John Eastman:

"As the debate over gay marriage intensifies on the heels of President Obama's endorsement, an under-the-radar case pending before the Supreme Court has the potential, some say, to invalidate traditional marriage laws altogether.

The latest ruling comes from the California-based 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which said that Arizona's recent attempt to strip health benefits for domestic partners of state workers is illegal.

... But one veteran 9th Circuit judge thinks his colleagues have declared a war on marriage.

Those judges "all but expressly held that opposite-sex-only marriage rules are unconstitutional -- indeed, that such rules are irrational per se because they can rest only on a 'bare desire to harm a politically unpopular group,'" Judge Diarmuid O'Scannlain wrote in dissent of his court's decision not to grant the case further review. He said his colleagues were ignoring Supreme Court precedent and all but called upon the high court to take the case. Arizona's attorney general recently filed a brief with the justices asking them to accept O'Scannlain's invitation.

Lawyer John Eastman, with the National Organization for Marriage, called the 9th Circuit ruling "groundbreaking," and one that could render traditional marriage laws across the country "unconstitutional" if it takes hold."

Rep. Ben Quayle, Son of VP Quayle, Reaffirms Support for Marriage

Congressman Ben Quayle, son of former Vice President Dan Quayle, reaffirms his support for marriage in light of Obama's flip flop on the issue:

Congressman Ben Quayle, Republican candidate for Arizona's newly drawn 6th District, today re-stated his opposition to same-sex marriage. He also said that President Barack Obama's announcement this week that he now supports same-sex marriage was "one of the most cynical and manipulative political stunts ever pulled by an American president."

"The president is wrong about the issue; marriage should remain as it has always been - between one man and one woman," said Quayle. "But his conduct has been cynical and manipulative because of the obvious calculation and political maneuvering he has demonstrated on a matter of great importance in our nation. The president is a world-class propagandist, and in this case he propagandizes even his own supporters."

AZ Gov. Jan Brewer Signs Mom & Dad Adoption Preference Bill

The Arizona Republic reports:

Married couples will have preference when it comes to adopting children under a new measure signed into law by Gov. Jan Brewer on Monday.Senate Bill 1188, which was sponsored by Sen. Linda Gray, R-Glendale, would require an adoption agency to give primary consideration to adoptive placement with a married man and woman, with all other criteria being equal.

The bill applies to both state and private adoption agencies. Previously, only Utah has a law requiring priority for married couples, though several other states have bans on adoptions by same-sex couples or by unmarried couples.

... Cathi Herrod, president of the Center for Arizona Policy, and a strong advocated of SB 1188 said Monday that the bill was among those that dealt with "critical issues of life, marriage and religious liberty," and said she was "grateful" for the governor's support.

The Institute for Marriage and Public Policy, which works to "strengthen marriage for a new generation" (and has our own Maggie Gallagher as its President) has similar model legislation available for other state legislatures interested in pursuing marital preference policy in adoption regs.