The Grand Canyon State has been in the news because the legislature recently voted to amend a law with the effect that business owners can decline to serve gay people if doing would violate their religious beliefs. The bill is now awaiting action by Arizona governor Jan Brewer.
Presumably this change in Arizona law was occasioned by some notable cases where people, including a baker and a photographer, declined to offer their services for gay weddings.
If the governor signs the bill, which is opposed by LGBT rights advocates, any person could refuse to serve another if motivated by a sincerely held religious belief, and if doing so would substantially burden the exercise of that belief.
The idea seems to be that religious people should not be compelled to violate their conscience by state law.
As a conservative Christian myself, I’m all for that.
I knew a hotel manager who politely refused to staff the hotel bar because he objected to the consumption of alcohol. And I’ve known many medical people who declined to dispense birth control or perform abortions because of their religious convictions.
Certainly we need legal protection for people of conscience.
Yet if I were a baker, I would sell cake to anyone.