Another Arizona Bill Quietly Looms
Though Arizona SB 1062 was dramatically vetoed by Gov. Jan Brewer this week, another version of a bill that would allow discrimination on the basis of religion is gaining traction.
House Bill 2481, according to the Arizona Republic, is making its way through the state legislature. The bill says the state government cannot force clergy or judges to "solemnize a marriage that is inconsistent with the minister's sincerely held religious beliefs."
The bill was drafted by Rep. Steve Montenegro, who is also a pastor at a church. He said his legislation was inspired by instances in New Jersey and England, where clergy were mandated to preside over ceremonies for same-sex couples.
This proposal provides a narrower scope, as SB 1062 pertained to business owners, which is a broader class of Arizonans. However, several major corporations and professional sports leagues that operate in Arizona (like the NFL, which plans to have the next Super Bowl there) voiced their displeasure with the bill.
“The intent of my bill is to directly protect clergy, churches, man or woman of the cloth, to protect them from doing marriage ceremonies that go against their faith,” Montenegro said to the Republic.
The next step for the legislation would be a floor debate in the Arizona House of Representatives.