Friday, February 21, 2014

First Amendment Quote of the Day - February 21, 2014

 Arizona has passed a bill that will allow Christians and Hindus to refuse to provide service to abortionists without fear of being sued for discrimination. It will allow Moslems to refuse to provide service to people accompanied by service dogs without fear of being sued for discrimination.  It will allow Wiccans to refuse service to Christians without fear of being sued for discrimination. It will allow members of the Church of Christ to refuse service to Catholics without fear of being sued for discrimination. It will allow Amish to refuse service to their own members who are being shunned, without fear of being sued for discrimination.

The actual text of the Arizona Free Exercise of Religion Bill (AZ Senate Bill 1062) that the Arizona Senate passed today:

"41-1493.  Definitions

"In this article, unless the context otherwise requires:

"1.  "Demonstrates" means meets the burdens of going forward with the evidence and of persuasion.

"2.  "Exercise of religion" means the practice or observance of religion, including the ability to act or refusal to act in a manner substantially motivated by a religious belief, whether or not the exercise is compulsory or central to a larger system of religious belief." ...

..... "[Sec. 2.]  Section 41-1493.01, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended to read:

"41-1493.01.  Free exercise of religion protected; definition

"A.  Free exercise of religion is a fundamental right that applies in this state even if laws, rules or other government actions are facially neutral.

"B.  Except as provided in subsection C of this section, state action shall not substantially burden a person's exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability."

"C.  State action may substantially burden a person's exercise of religion only if the government or nongovernmental person seeking the enforcement of state action demonstrates that application of the burden to the person's exercise of religion in this particular instance is both:

"1.  In furtherance of a compelling governmental interest.

"2.  The least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.

"D.  A person whose religious exercise is burdened in violation of this section may assert that violation as a claim or defense in a judicial proceeding, regardless of whether the government is a party to the proceeding.

"E.  A person that asserts a violation of this section must establish all of the following:

"1.  That the person's action or refusal to act is motivated by a religious belief.

"2.  That the person's religious belief is sincerely held.

"3.  That the state action substantially burdens the exercise of the person's religious beliefs.

"F.  The person asserting a claim or defense under subsection D of this section may obtain injunctive and declaratory relief.  A party who prevails in any action to enforce this article against a government shall recover attorney fees and costs.

"G.  For the purposes of this section, the term substantially burden is intended solely to ensure that this article is not triggered by trivial, technical or de minimis infractions.

"H.  For the purposes of this section, "state action" means any action, except for the requirements prescribed by section 41-1493.04, by the government or the implementation or application of any law, including state and local laws, ordinances, rules, regulations and policies, whether statutory or otherwise, and whether the implementation or application is made by the government or nongovernmental persons

                                      Source: Arizona State Government Website:

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