Governor Brewer Should Veto Arizona Discrimination Bill
The Religious Freedom Restoration Act, SB 1062, passed by legislators in Arizona and being considered for signature by Governor Jan Brewer, would allow certain businesses to refuse service to the LGBTI community based on religious beliefs. Freedom House urges Governor Brewer to veto the measure.
“Freedom House speaks out on cases of discrimination around the world, and we cannot stay silent when we see blatant examples of it here in the United States, in this case under the guise of religious freedom,” said David J. Kramer, president of Freedom House. “The freedom to practice one’s religion does not give society freedom to discriminate against certain segments of the population. Any person living or traveling in the United States should be able to avail himself or herself of publicly available goods, services, and businesses without fear of discrimination. This law has no place in the United States, and Governor Brewer should veto it, as she has similar legislation in the past.”
The bill approved by the state legislature would allow Arizona businesses to deny services to LGBTI customers if businesses believe doing so would violate their religious beliefs. While it is designed to target the LGBTI community, it could also prevent equal pay for women, nullify contractual obligations, and allow discrimination against other population groups, all in the name of religious belief.
Legislatures in Tennessee, South Dakota, Idaho, and Kansas are considering similar laws, though none is as broad as the Arizona bill. Article 7 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, of which the United States is a signatory, guarantees protection from discrimination for all people and equal treatment before the law. The Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution similarly protects individuals from discrimination.
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