There's a spate of identical laws being proposed in REpublican held states to provide broad protections to people who want to discriminate. They are inspired, if that's the word, by several high-profile suits against bakers and photographers who refused to provide service to same sex couples. The problem for the bakers and photographers is that (a) they told the gay folks WHY they wouldn't serve them and (b) they did it in states with non-discrimination laws that included sexual orientation.
But the uproar over Arizona's law which is written so broadly that anyone could discriminate against anyone else, has shone a light on these laws. Have they over-reached? Ed Kilgore thinks so.
[T]he “religious liberty” crusade shows signs of backfiring. This very day, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer may veto a bill just passed by a legislature controlled by her own party that provides a broad exemption from discrimination laws to businesses and individuals claiming compliance violates their beliefs. And more generally, an argument that once distracted from the extremist nature of conservative Christian objections to gay rights and reproductive rights is drawing attention to them in a dangerous way.
...On many fronts in the culture wars, the momentum has usually been possessed by those who can best identify themselves with the ambivalent attitudes of a mushy middle “swing vote”—favorable to contraceptives and early-term abortions but not late-term abortions; increasingly accepting of LGBT folk but indulgent of their parents’ and grandparents’ “ick factor.”
After years of shedding crocodile tears for the victims of late-term abortions, anti-choicers are now finding themselves defending businesses who in open court argue that the dividing line between acceptable contraception and murderous abortion occurs moments after sexual intercourse — when women instantly transition from autonomous individuals to “hosts” for a state-protected zygote. And after years of arguing against marriage equality on behalf of the positive “rights” of men and women in “traditional marriage,” those who actually think gay people in love are abominations unto the Lord are being exposed for who they really are.Most of these "freedom" laws are stalled, although a new one may pop up in Georgia. And Arizona is a subject of ridicule. Governor Brewer has until Friday to veto.