Bill 1062 : Manipulation of Rights and Freedom

  • Share
  • CevherShare
  • Share

by Ivana Braga


I never imagined that the USA could have a law that protects “any individual, association, partnership, corporation, church, religious assembly or institution or other business organization” that refuses to serve other based on their religious believes. But, given the controversial anti-gay law or Bill 1062 that passed in Arizonan Legislature on February 21, it could happen, if the governor Jan Brewer doesn’t veto it until next Friday.

Bill 1062 brings a new definition of exercise of religion: “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.” In other words, or my personal interpretation, in name of the freedom of religious, the Senate Bill 1062 legalizes discrimination.

The gay people directly affected by this Bill, could have a harder life. Whether it is doing daily activities such as attending school, having dinner, booking a hotel, going shopping or working out, business-owners can refuse to serve them. It reminds me a of time when African Americans had something similar to keep them away from white peoples’ spaces. And yes, women suffered for the same situation too. Different excuses, similar methods, but nonetheless, all historical wrongs.

Furthermore, if that person or institution who use the exercise of religion as excuse to discriminate other is dragged to a lawsuit, the Senate Bill 106 foresees a free-pass to them:

“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.”

From the history of American Civil Rights and a multicultural perspective, I see conservative groups appropriate the words such as rights and freedom, to have the prerogative to discriminate and exclude other. It is a wrong move, in an age of bridges, that the Arizona House of Representatives is building fences between people.

A Brazilian poetess Cecilia Meireles once wrote that “freedom is a word that feeds the human dream that no one can explain, and anyone does not understand.” I would add that when freedom is denied, everyone can see, and will step back as some Arizonan business owners are doing.













ABC 15 – Understanding SB1062: 8 things you need to know about Arizona’s controversial bill

Video by CCN – Protestors rally against Arizona bill

Grammatically revised by ASU Writing Center – Downtown, since English is not my first language. 

4 Comments on “Bill 1062 : Manipulation of Rights and Freedom”

  1. I hate to burst your bubble but the refusal of service concept is perfectly legal and uninhibited in anyway in Arizona, and would remain so regardless of this modification or not. If you’re concerned about the refusal of service concept – I would get a team of lawyers on that one because this particular bill does a couple things here… it broadens who can apply to sue through the courts over religious freedom, but it also adds a substantial burden of proof in three criteria that were not there before concerning PROVING this violates their religion, how faithful they are to that religion, and so on. It makes it HARDER to win that battle, not only that it does not even guarantee that this “freedom of religion” ability to sue will actually win in a court of law even if these evidences are provided.

    I would highly suggest drafting a new law/bill that would remove the ability to refuse service for ANY reason in Arizona, which is the current allowable domain for that action, and which this bill does absolutely nothing to change regardless of if it is signed or vetoed. THAT would be your better bet as refusal of service doesn’t even enter into this picture.

    1. Thank you LHS for bringing good points for our reflection on this complex issue. Policy-making should be an diverse arena.

  2. It is very difficult to judge this bill because both parties can justify their actions. Of course, some arguments are better than others and I do not support 1062.

  3. It’s funny that this bill even had to exist in the first place, because as you pointed out at the start of this post, AZ has no law preventing people from refusing service to whomever they want. It was really just a waste of time for AZ and it brought a lot of bad publicity to our state. If you have time, I thought this interview by Anderson Cooper with an AZ Senator really highlighted the ridiculousness of this law.

Comments are closed.