Controversial bill to expand religious protections advances
Opponents: Measure could allow discrimination
Senate Bill 1062, pushed by the conservative advocacy group Center for Arizona Policy and introduced by Sen. Steve Yarbrough, R-Chandler, would allow individuals to use religious beliefs as a defense in a lawsuit filed by another individual.
Specifically, the bill proposes to:
- Expand the state’s definition of the exercise of religion to include both the practice and observance of religion;
- Expand those protected under the state’s free exercise of religion law to “any individual, association, partnership, corporation, church, religious assembly or institution, estate, trust, foundation or other legal entity.”
Yarbrough called the bill a “modest clarification” of the state’s existing religious-freedom law.
“Prohibited discrimination remains prohibited,” he said. “In no way does this bill allow discrimination of any kind.”