Editor’s note: As part of our coverage of the Religious Freedom Act debates, we asked the Cato Institute’s Ilya Shapiro for his thoughts in the aftermath of Governor Brewer’s veto of SB 1062.
While Gov. Brewer’s veto may have thrown cold water on this debate, the conflict between government mandates and civil rights (whether religious liberty, freedom of association, or anything else) will not go away.
The way that the media maliciously misdescribed SB 1062 and that national politicians turned tail rather than defend difficult-to-sound-bite concepts may have made signing the bill politically hard, but the underlying law and principles of policy are sound.
Let’s hope that the cases like those of the New Mexico photographer, the Oregon bakers, the Washington florist, and so many others—good people who have long served gay clients but who don’t want to work same-sex ceremonies for religious reasons—don’t happen in Arizona.
If they do, this debate will flare up again, in Phoenix and nationally. In the meantime, I suggest that legislatures that want to protect liberty for all do pursue these Religious Freedom Restoration Acts (patterned on the federal one that was designed but that right-wing zealot Chuck Schumer), but only in conjunction with the extension of marriage benefits to gay couples.
Tolerance, civility, and equal rights in a pluralistic society are all two-way streets.
Ilya Shapiro is a senior fellow in constitutional studies at the Cato Institute and editor-in-chief of the Cato Supreme Court Review. He has provided testimony to Congress and state legislatures and, as coordinator of Cato’s amicus brief program, filed more than 100 “friend of the court” briefs in the Supreme Court.
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