Civil Rights

Arizona Governor Vetoes SB 1062

Arizona Governor Vetoes SB 1062

Citing the lack of examples where a business' religious freedom was being violated under current law and the concept that the broadly worded bill could have unintended negative consequences, Arizona Governor Janet Brewer vetoed SB 1062 on Wednesday evening, February 26, 2014.

 
 

Arizona SB 1062 is a Bad Idea and Should Be Vetoed!

Arizona SB 1062 is a Bad Idea and Should Be Vetoed!

Arizona Bill SB 1062 is on Governor Jan Brewer's desk where she is expected to sign it, veto it, or ignore it and let it become law by default within the next few days. This bill modifies Arizona's 1999 Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) to permit business owners to deny service to gay customers, or potentially members of any other group, so long as they are doing it because of the religious beliefs of the owners. SB 1062 could potentially cause more harm than good.

 
 

Marriage Proceedings: Making Sense of the Same-Sex Marriage Cases (Liberty Magazine)

Marriage Proceedings: Making Sense of the Same-Sex Marriage Cases (Liberty Magazine)

On June 26, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court issued two highly anticipated rulings in same-sex marriage cases. First, the Court ruled that the federal government has to legally recognize the marriages of same-sex couples in those states that have legalized them. In a second decision, the Court declined to hear an appeal in defense of a California ballot initiative that had banned same-sex marriage on grounds that the nongovernmental party bringing the appeal lacked standing. For reasons discussed below, both decisions represent incremental steps that will ultimately lead the Court to consider whether same-sex marriage should be a right nationwide.

 
 

The Firebrand: The Dangers of Speaking Truth to Power (Liberty Magazine)

The Firebrand: The Dangers of Speaking Truth to Power (Liberty Magazine)

The story of Savonarola is not a lesson in the necessity of violence for a successful revolution, but rather a lesson in the dangerous consequences of speaking truth to power.

 
 

State Department Reports on Serious Freedom Abuses Abroad (CenterForLiberty.org)

Since its creation in 1998, the USCIRF has been controversial, both at home and abroad. At home, criticism typically focuses on the charge that the US should be more willing to assist CPC nations to improve their record rather than just putting them on a “blacklist” for the world to see. Abroad, nations have frequently criticized the US for its attitude of “arrogance” in thinking that it is superior to other sovereign nations and entitled to criticize them for religious freedom abuses when the US hardly has a spotless record itself. Nevertheless, after 15 years of activity, there is little doubt that the USCIRF reports have often motivated CPC nations to improve their religious freedom records. USCIRF's work has also exposed serious religious freedom abuses that should be brought to the world's attention.

 
 

Dr. Ben Carson asks pro-lifers to speak up and oppose abortion mentality

Dr. Ben Carson asks pro-lifers to speak up and oppose abortion mentality

Carson warned of “forces in America that want to fundamentally change who we are without discussion. Said Carson, “They co-opt the media and get everybody to shut up so we don't know what is going on [so they can] change the underpinnings of the nation. We must be smart enough not to fall for it or one day we will wake up and find that we have a different nation.”

 
 

States Rights and the Religion Clauses: Examining the North Carolina Resolution

States Rights and the Religion Clauses: Examining the North Carolina Resolution

This week, two members of the North Carolina House of Representatives submitted a resolution which would declare that “the Constitution of the United States of America does not prohibit states or their subsidiaries from making laws respecting an establishment of religion.” In other words, the legislation declared that that the state could make its own laws about religion and the federal government would not be able to stop them. Although the resolution is not likely to be approved, it does deserve some serious examination as it reflects a common argument arising in the religious right that the Establishment Clause does not apply to the states.

 
 

Outcome Unpredictable but Prop 8 Supporters Had Tough Day in S. Court

Outcome Unpredictable but Prop 8 Supporters Had Tough Day in S. Court

By Jason Hines – Today was a landmark day for the Supreme Court, as it heard arguments on the constitutionality of Proposition 8. I have written about this case at every level (on the state level and at the 9th Cir.) so it only seems right that I talk about the arguments that took place earlier today. However, it doesn't make sense to give a straight up and down summary or even a major analysis (there are plenty of people who did a good job of that, including this article by Adam Serwer), but there are some things that I want to highlight. Some will be important, some won't, but these are the things that came to mind as I listened to the oral arguments –

 
 

Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom Established Separation of Church and State

Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom Established Separation of Church and State

The Act, written by Thomas Jefferson, allowed Virginia to become the first state to separate church and state and remains part of Virginia's constitution. It was later used as a model for other state constitutions as well as the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

 
 

The Results: Voters Decide on Same-Sex Marriage, Marijuana, and Religious Freedom

The Results: Voters Decide on Same-Sex Marriage, Marijuana, and Religious Freedom

On November 6, 2012 voters in many states had the opportunity to make decisions on a number of state laws through ballot measures. Voters in Maine, Maryland, and Washington voted in favor of measures that would legalize same-sex marriage. Voters in Minnesota rejected a proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, and voters in North Carolina voted to define marriage as solely existing between one man and one woman.