Yesterday the Arizona Senate passed SB 1062, a bill that would, if it became law, enshrine the ability of business owners to refuse service to customers based on their sexual orientation. The bill’s sponsors, as I wrote a few weeks ago, fear that the “religious freedom” of business owners is threatened by LGBT people asking them to bake a cake or snap some photographs.
Here’s E.J. Montini, a columnist with the Arizona Republic, who says that “extremists in the legislature [are] essentially appeasing zealots out in the community.” He calls the bill “a most ungodly way to view religious freedom:”
Arizona is not alone. Even though it looks like Kansas’ controversial HB 2453 won’t make it through the state senate, it’s possible the bill’s supporters will recraft it with different language and try again. Other states are attempting similar maneuvers. These efforts have met with vociferous opposition, but given that their supporters are backed by national groups like the Ethics and Public Policy Center and powerful state affiliates of Focus on the Family, as well as state Catholic conferences, it’s not likely that they will cowed by periodic setbacks. This is probably just the beginning.