American Proscenium

Lies, Damn Lies, and RFRA

The headline in the New York Times trumpeted the paper’s approval: “Arizona Governor vetoes bill on refusal of services to gays.”  Had Jan Brewer not done the right thing, the nefarious bill passed by the Arizona legislature “would have given business owners the right to refuse services to gay men, lesbians, and other people on religious grounds.”

The National Football League, shocked at the mean-spirited people of Arizona, had begun plans to move an upcoming Super Bowl from the state.  How could the NFL not take action, the commentators asked, when an openly gay man (Mike Sam) was soon to land on an NFL roster?  Arizonans might not rent him a room in the team hotel or permit him to join teammates in public restaurants.

During late February, the fourth estate succeeded in calling national attention to Arizona’s “anti-gay bill,” but it is doubtful whether any member of the media ever read SB 1062 or examined its history.

For example, Forbes accused Arizona of attempting to enshrine discrimination with “a bill cleverly named the Religious Freedom Restoration Act” (RFRA).  Arizona’s RFRA, however, was actually enacted in 1999, before homosexual marriage became a national issue, and it was patterned on the federal RFRA that was passed by Congress and signed by Bill Clinton in...

Join now to access the full article and gain access to other exclusive features.

Get Started

Already a member? Sign in here