If a wedding company received an inquiry that conflicted with an owners religious beliefs; that owner, guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States, could exercise their First Amendment “Right of Freedom of Speech,” and refuse the offer of business. In other words, a business has the right to refuse to do business with anyone, for whatever reason they choose. We see this sign quite often in many establishments. If you are a butt-head, rude, an idiot, shirtless, or did anything that conflicted morally with that business, they had the right to refuse to offer you service. Arizona’s former bill, SB#1062, would make it unlawful for money hungry lawyers to sue a businesses when that said owner exercised their religious freedom as the reason why service had been refused. So a Catholic congregation who refused to marry any Catholic couple in the their church, who had not gone though proper marriage counseling, could not get sued. A Muslim Imam who refused to perform a Christian wedding, would not have to fear the law. And a photographer who taught Christian Sunday School, could freely deny the request to shoot the wedding of a same-sex couple, due to conflicting religious moral issues, could do so, without the fear of a lawsuit.
The media improperly labeled the bill as”anti-gay” and predicted that a barrage of “religious bigoted” companies, from restaurants to big boxes, would then be given the opportunity to discriminate feely against same-sex customers. “Without the fear of a lawsuit, companies were free to discriminate” the media echoed on every station. And in a very short time, this very same theory was echoed throughout social media. And almost over night, Arizona was ground zero for same-sex rallies.
But like in many cases, social media and the main-stream-media had once again given birth to a misinformed crowd, who were collectively convinced that the bill would give birth to discrimination, and all things evil. Arizona was labeled “ground-zero” for the birth of gay segregation even though not one business in Arizona had refused the business of any same-sex couple. Politicians, large and small companies, joined the rally to overturn the law, and in a very short time, the Governor vetoed SB#1062.
Even the Soup Nazi’s right to refuse to do business with you is protected by the Constitution.
And then, almost overnight, the media and protesters, declared victory on social media, and everyone went home thinking they won, when truly, nothing had changed.
A company can still refuse to do business with anyone for any reason, including religious reasons. Now, they are just opened to lawsuits by money hungry lawyers, and any complaint of discrimination would now have to be heard in court.
It’s important to note that in our country, a person, or private organization whether moral or immoral, has the right to operate within our borders, as long a they do not break the law. Pedophile groups such as NAMBLA (The North American Man Boy Love Association) have the right to peacefully assemble, protest, and hold meetings in elementary schools. Racist groups such as the KKK have the right to non-profit status and to not allow anyone except Caucasians into their group. These groups are clearly on the wrong side of the moral spectrum, yet their formation and operation are legally protected by the constitution.
In my opinion, SB#1062, was a law that was not needed, but it’s use could have come in handy. If any suit were brought against a company that refused to do business with a customer based upon conflicting religious issues, the plaintiffs would clearly lose. The only bad part about it is that the defending company would have to incur millions of dollars of legal defense cost, and would eventually have to go out of business to defend it’s constitutional right, thus why the law would prevent this. But once the first case would succeed in the favor the defense, no future lawsuit would follow.
As for me, I exercise my First Amendment Right to refuse to do business with idiots.