Americans United for Separation of Church and State

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Church State Issues

Lobbyist Herrod: Religious freedom law 'may be needed'

Feb 28, 2015

Arizona Republic

Cathi Herrod's view is "religious freedom" is when she can use the government to force here nutty religious views on the rest of us using the force of govenrment. If you listen to Cathi Herrod's nutty rants you may think that the 10% atheist population has taken over Arizona government and shut down all the churches at gun point and Christians are forced to pray in secret for fear of being arrested.


Lobbyist Herrod: Religious freedom law 'may be needed'

Yvonne Wingett Sanchez, The Republic | azcentral.com 9:56 p.m. MST February 27, 2015

The head of the lobbying group behind last year's controversial Senate Bill 1062 said Arizonans should "stay tuned" to see if similar legislation is needed to allow people to "be free to live and work according to their faith."

Cathi Herrod, head of the politically powerful Center for Arizona Policy, spoke to The Arizona Republic this week — on the one-year anniversary of SB 1062 being vetoed — following the group's release of a poll it helped commission.

The survey by the CAP and other conservative Christian organizations found 53 percent of Americans say marriage should be defined as a union between a man and woman. A spokesman for the CAP said the organization has no plans to promote religious-freedom legislation this session.

The poll comes as the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear oral arguments over whether voters can establish state marriage laws, as Arizona voters did in 2008 when they defined marriage as between one man and one woman.In October, a federal judge ruled the law was unconstitutional, allowing gay couples in the state to marry.

The poll CAP released also found:

Eight in 10 said government should allow people to follow their beliefs about marriage as they run businesses and live their daily lives.

Sixty-one percent said states and residents should "remain free to uphold marriage as the union of a man and a woman, and the Supreme Court shouldn't force all 50 states to redefine marriage."

When asked if Arizona needs legislation to protect religious freedoms, similar to last year's SB 1062, Herrod responded, "Stay tuned; legislation may be needed, but we're going to see what the Supreme Court does."

She added the group was closely watching legal cases involving people who have been fired or sued over their beliefs about marriage.

Herrod said the U.S. Supreme Court should not redefine marriage.

"What the poll shows is that we need to step back a minute, take a breath and respect the rights of all Americans to live and work according to their faith," Herrod said. "That government should not be compelling or coercing people to violate their beliefs."

Herrod was the author of SB 1062 and has strong ties to Gov. Doug Ducey and conservative Republican lawmakers. The legislation would have offered a legal defense for individuals and businesses facing discrimination lawsuits if they could prove they acted on a "sincerely held religious belief."

Critics say the bill would have instead legalized discrimination.

Herrod reiterated her belief Thursday that the debate and veto of SB 1062 was not about the intent of the bill, saying, "The uproar became about something that it was not about."

Brewer vetoed the bill on Feb. 26, 2014, after prominent corporations voiced concerns. Brewer said at the time that the legislation did not "address a specific and present concern related to religious liberty in Arizona."

Ducey has said the legislation put the state "unnecessarily in the national spotlight and said he didn't think it was necessary."

CAP's survey, conducted by Wilson Perkins Allen Opinion Research, polled 800 registered voters. It was conducted Feb. 2-4; its margin of error is plus or minus nearly 4 percent.

Follow the reporter on Twitter @yvonnewingett.