Monday, February 24, 2014

Arizona Legislature Passes RFRA Amendments To Allow Businesses To Refuse To Serve Gays On Religious Grounds

The Arizona legislature on Thursday passed and sent to the governor SB 1062 which amends the state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act to extend its coverage to the exercise of religion by corporations and other business organizations. The bill also provides that its protections may be asserted in lawsuits even if the government is not a party. (Background form Arizona Center for Policy.) The controversial bill is designed to permit businesses that oppose homosexuality or same-sex marriage on religious grounds to refuse to provide goods or services if it violates their religious beliefs. ABC News reports that Gov. Jan Brewer is still deciding whether or not to sign the bill. Some suggest that if the controversial bill becomes law, it could lead to boycotts in connection with the Super Bowl scheduled for Arizona next year. AP reports further on the legislation.

1 comment:

Thomas Rutledge said...

I find this statute, like assertions that RFRA applies to corporations, to be most curious. Arizona would redefine "person" for purposes of the state RFRA to include corporations. The statute then goes on to protect conduct based upon it being rooted in religious belief. The question that remains begged is whether a corporation can have religious views. Saying a corporation falls within the definition of a person, that being originally a natural person, does not in and of itself imbue a corporation with a religious viewpoint or religious rights anymore than defining a person as including my siberian husky. You could say he is a person whose religious views are to be protected by strict scrutiny analysis, but strict scrutiny will be applied to a null set. He is clearly a sentient living being who greatly enjoys treats and car rides, but he has no religious views. A corporation is, as to religious views, in the same position.