Wednesday, February 26, 2014

VETOED! In Arizona, Freedom of Religion Doesn't Mean Freedom To Discriminate!

PFLAGers across the country are strongly in favor of religious liberty and the freedom to worship as one chooses--after all, many PFLAG members and supporters are also people of faith--but the right to worship and hold personal religious beliefs does not give one the right to discriminate against others. 

Moments ago, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoed SB1062, a so-called Freedom of Religion bill that would have greatly expanded the scope of religious exemptions from nondiscrimination laws in the state, granting the right to discriminate to any individual or business based on their religious beliefs.

This bill garnered major attention across the country: from the media, from activists, from Arizona business, and of course from PFLAG members and supporters who made calls, attended rallies, talked to their neighbors, and volunteered long, hard hours to make sure that this bill would not become law. We were happy to see, too, the demand for a veto included many Republican leaders as well as businesses both in Arizona and nationally, including PFLAG partners like American Airlines and Marriott International. We are relieved that the Governor did the right thing by vetoing this harmful and hurtful piece of legislation.

And yet, even as we celebrate this victory in Arizona, similar bills are being introduced and voted on in other parts of the country: while similar bills were recently killed in Kansas and South Dakota, other bills in Mississippi, in Georgia, in Missouri, are still on track to potentially become law.

All of these bills have one disturbing thing in common: they all stemmed from an unfounded fear, by people who are opposed to same-sex marriage, that people and businesses would be required to provide services to same-sex couples. 

PFLAG National and its chapters across the country will continue to stand strongly in support of their LGBT loved ones, speaking out against these “Freedom to Discriminate” bills wherever they raise their heads. We will remain vigilant and take action when necessary, sharing our personal truth: that being a person of faith and a supporter of equality and affirmation for LGBT people are not mutually exclusive.