Arizona Governor Jan Brewer (Jack Kurtz/ZUMApress/Newscom)
Bill Clinton is an extremist according to Kirsten Powers. That’s the gist of her latest USA Today op-ed, on Arizona’s attempt to protect religious liberty in the state with protections similar to the ones in the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) that Clinton signed into law back in 1993. The column is wrongly titled “Arizona Latest to Attack Gay Rights,” even though the bill, SB1062, never mentions gays, lesbians, marriage, or same-sex anything. And Powers claims that the bill, if signed into law, “would result in nothing less than chaos,” even though the federal government has lived under these rules for twenty years, and Arizona has had similar protections since 1999. Indeed, more than a dozen states have similar laws and the sky hasn’t fallen. Yet Powers is resolute that SB1062 is an “abomination of a bill.”
As I explained yesterday at The Foundry, SB1062 is an amendment to the 1999 state RFRA clarifying that the protections extend to any “state action” and would apply to “any individual, association, partnership, corporation, church, religious assembly or institution or other business organization.” In other words, it protects all citizens and the associations they form from undue burdens by the government on their religious liberty or from private lawsuits that would have the same result.
Powers claims that the Arizona bill is the most extreme: “This proposed law makes the bill defeated in Kansas last week look progressive. Unlike the Kansas bill—which applied only to marriage—the Arizona bill has no such limits.” But a bi-partisan group of law professors begs to differ. In a letter sent yesterday to Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, the professors write:
The bill has been egregiously misrepresented by many of its critics. …
We should not punish people for …read more