Author Topic: Brewer's Foolish Veto By RICH LOWRY  (Read 160 times)

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Brewer's Foolish Veto By RICH LOWRY
« on: February 27, 2014, 08:27:32 AM »

Brewer's Foolish Veto


February 26, 2014

It was jarring to read the coverage of the new “anti-gay bill” passed by the Arizona Legislature and then look up the text of the instantly notorious SB 1062. The bill was roughly 998 pages shorter than much of legislation that passes in Washington, so reading it didn’t take much of a commitment. Clocking in at barely two pages, it was easy to scan for disparaging references to homosexuality, for veiled references to homosexuality, for any references to homosexuality at all.

They weren’t there. A headline from The Week declared, “There is nothing Christian about Arizona’s anti-gay bill.” It would be more accurate to say that there was nothing anti-gay about Arizona’s anti-gay bill.

The legislation consisted of minor clarifications of the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which has been on the books for 15 years and is modeled on the federal act that passed with big bipartisan majorities in the 1990s and was signed into law by President Bill Clinton.

Arizona was going to lose the Super Bowl over this? Maybe so. Gov. Jan Brewer took no chances and vetoed it Wednesday. The bill was the subject of a truly awe-inspiring tsunami of poorly informed indignation.

For The New York Times editorial board, the bill was “A License to Discriminate.” It constituted “the legalizing of anti-gay prejudice,” according to a piece in U.S.News & World Report. It was, Salon scoffed, “cartoonishly bigoted.” A reference to Jim Crow was obligatory in any discussion of the bill on cable TV.

Writing in The Week, Elizabeth Stoker said the logic of the bill “threatens to twist Christianity into a vile, exclusionary isolating thing.” But it was beyond the power of Arizona lawmakers to redefine Christianity. Stoker must have mistaken the Arizona Legislature for the Council of Nicaea.

In USA Today, the influential liberal pundit Kirsten Powers posited that the bill would enable all-out civil conflict, with Muslim pharmacists possibly refusing to give uncovered women antibiotics, Christian pacifists refusing to let Army sergeants stay in their hotels, and Christian restaurateurs who oppose judging gays refusing to serve overly judgmental Christians.

There you have it: If a few lines were changed in Arizona’s religious freedom law, the state would practically become Bosnia-Herzegovina circa 1992. Rarely had so much hinged on a couple of dozen words of an otherwise wholly innocuous statute.

If you’ll excuse a brief, boring break from the hysteria to dwell on the text of the doomed bill, it stipulated that the word “person” in the law applies to businesses and that the protections of the law apply whether or not the government is directly a party to a proceeding (e.g., a lawsuit brought on anti-discrimination grounds).

Eleven legal experts on religious freedom statutes — who represent a variety of views on gay marriage — wrote a letter to Gov. Brewer prior to her veto explaining how the bill “has been egregiously misrepresented by many of its critics.”

In addition to the federal government, 18 states have such statutes and about a dozen other states interpret their state constitutions as extending the same protections, according to the letter. The statutes, the scholars write, “say that before government can burden a person’s religious exercise, the government has to show a compelling justification.”

The letter argues that, properly interpreted, the federal law that inspired the Arizona statute covers cases that don’t directly involve the government and covers businesses. So Arizona’s changes weren’t radical but in keeping with a federal law once championed by none other than Sen. Ted Kennedy.

A religious freedom statute doesn’t give anyone carte blanche to do whatever he wants in the name of religion. It simply allows him to make his case in court that a law or a lawsuit substantially burdens his religion and that there is no compelling governmental interest to justify the burden.

For critics of the Arizona bill, the substance was almost an afterthought. They recoiled at the very idea that someone might have moral objections to homosexuality or gay marriage.

The cases that have come up relevant to the Arizona debate involve small-business people declining to provide their services to gay couples at their marriage ceremonies. A New Mexico photographer won’t take pictures. A Washington state florist won’t arrange flowers. An Oregon bakery won’t bake a wedding cake.

It’s easy to see how offensive these decisions were to the gay couples involved. An entirely understandable response would be for the couple to say, “I’m sorry you’re so narrow-minded and I hope you evolve one day. In the meantime, I’ll take my business elsewhere.”

The market has a ready solution for these couples: There are other bakers, photographers and florists. The wedding business is not exactly bristling with hostility to gay people. If one baker won’t make a cake for gay weddings, the baker across town can hang a shingle welcoming all couples for all types of weddings.

This is how a pluralistic society would handle such disputes. Instead, in the cases mentioned above, the gay couples reported the businesses to the authorities for punishment.

The question isn’t whether businesses run by people opposed to gay marriage on religious grounds should provide their services for gay weddings; it is whether they should be compelled to by government. The critics of the much-maligned Arizona bill pride themselves on their live-and-let-live open-mindedness, but they are highly moralistic in their support of gay marriage, judgmental of those who oppose it and tolerant of only one point of view on the issue — their own.

For them, someone else’s conscience is only a speed bump on the road to progress. It’s get with the program, your religious beliefs be damned.

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Re: Brewer's Foolish Veto By RICH LOWRY
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2014, 12:16:41 PM »
If this bill was just a little minor embroidery around the edges of existing law, then it really wasn't necessary and it was a smart thing to do to veto it given the optics.
I won't vote for Clinton, but I cannot vote for Trump.  How could I explain to my daughter why I supported a man who sees her as nothing more than a piece of meat, a piece of a$$ for him to grope for his own private pleasure.

"Trump supporter" - the very definition of an SFI

Offline Bigun

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Re: Brewer's Foolish Veto By RICH LOWRY
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2014, 12:18:49 PM »
I want to see the person who can survive on this planet for even one day without discriminating!
“It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere.” —Voltaire

Offline happyg

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Re: Brewer's Foolish Veto By RICH LOWRY
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2014, 12:48:13 PM »
Why would people want to go where they aren't wanted, even if they can? There's hundreds of bakeries to choose from, so why pick a Christian, knowing you are insulting them.

How many whites go into a black bar, knowing they aren't welcome. Or a gay bar? Or even a drug infested rathole bar? Of course we don't, and use our judgment to decide what is preferable for us.

Activists non smokers are no better, demanding that restaurants and bars are smoke free, even when they don't go to those specific places. If it were free choice, then opt for another place to complain.

From the beginning of all this nonsense, I held the belief that people need issues to make them feel fulfilled. It has little to do with personal beliefs, but more with a do-gooder attitude, and the power they bestow on themselves if they succeed. Once they are successful in that one endeavor, the same people go on to another issue. It's mostly a liberal thing, like when someone who has no kids, tells you how to raise yours. Just jibberish!

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