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March 15, 2014 12:00 pm
NC Family president John Rustin talks with Ryan Anderson, the William E. Simon Fellow at The Heritage Foundation and editor of Public Discourse, about the escalating threat to religious liberty posed by efforts to redefine marriage throughout our nation.
This is family policy matter program is produced by the North Carolina family policy Council of profamily research and education organization dedicated to strengthening and preserving the family, and often the studio hears John Rushton, president of the North Carolina family policy Council, thank you for doing this week. Profamily policy matters. It is our pleasure to have Ryan Anderson with us on the program. Ryan is the William E.
Simon fellow at the Heritage foundation and the editor of public discourse.
The online Journal of the Witherspoon Institute rhyme previously served as assistant editor of first things in his writings have appeared in the Harvard Journal of Law and Public policy. The weekly standard national review and the new Atlantic line is also the keynote speaker at the North Carolina family policy Council's upcoming major speakers series dinner in Greenville North Carolina on March 24 very excited about this event and invite you to contact the North Carolina family policy Council. For more information. If you are interested in attending our number is 919-807-0800 one is with us today to talk about the escalating threat to religious liberty posed by efforts to redefine marriage throughout our nation. There have been a number of cases across the country involving Christian business owners who have been penalized or even forced to close because they have operated their businesses according to their deeply held religious beliefs, particularly regarding their beliefs about traditional marriage issue came to a head recently when Arizona's governor under pressure from homosexual activist groups vetoed religious liberty legislation in that state. That would help strengthen protections for people of faith we will be talking with Ron about Arizona legislation, as well as the broader implication of efforts to redefine marriage in our culture. Ron, thanks so much for being back with us on family policy matters happy having well our pleasure to start with Arizona religious freedom bill which will Senate Bill 1062. As I mentioned, this bill was vetoed on February 26 by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer.
There is been a great deal of misinformation in the media about the bill, namely that it was quote anti-gay and would have allowed businesses to blatantly discriminate against homosexuals, tell us about the Arizona bill, Senate Bill 1062 and what it really did, and while profamily groups considered it to be a model piece of religious freedom legislation not only for Arizona but potentially for other states as well. SB 1062 simply a minor amendment to clarify religious liberty protections that are already on the books in the state of Arizona near the liberty state measures are modeled off of the federal religious freedom restoration act to be there.
Many references there called other federal religious freedom restoration act with a bill that passed the house by unanimous vote in and passed the Senate by a vote of 9073 and then it was signed into law in 1993 by Pres. Bill Clinton. We been living under this law for 20 years now and it had broad bipartisan support and with that is that the federal government cannot substantially burden the free exercise of religion. Unless there's a compelling state interest that the government's pursuing in the least restrictive means possible. So that's a pretty high standard of review a high bar to clear before the government can coerce someone and violate liberty. In 1999. Arizona passed the state version of this bill thing that the state government can't substantially burden religion unless again it's compelling state interest student least restrictive means possible.
All they were doing last week that the proposed piece of legislation was trying to clarify and to specify what had been implicit throughout the past 20 years, that the word person when it says Congress can, not a burden, a person's exercise of his freedom included corporate persons that included organizations and associations and business communities.
The idea being that Americans enjoy religious liberty protections and not just if the clergy not just if there inside of a chapel, but also if there private citizens engaged in the marketplace, running their family businesses running their corporations and that this is trying to say that all members of Arizona deserve religious to be protections.
It wouldn't have changed anything about the standard of review. Again, substantial burden, least restrictive means compelling state interest, though start the thing it didn't mention gays or lesbians or marriage or same-sex anything and yet we got several weeks of nonstop media lies and misrepresentations and demagoguery and that force the hand of the governor to veto otherwise is a perfectly good piece of legislation.
Now, if you saw these reports in the days leading up to the veto in Arizona. It was just amazing.
The activity that homosexual activist groups and other groups, and even a number of Fortune 500 businesses more undertaking and really there was a major distortion campaign launched by the homosexual activist and others want in your opinion Ron did we see such a heavy attack on this particular bill in Arizona sure you I think part of this is that there's a certain push among those on the left. Those in favor of redefining marriage, not just to redefine marriage in the law, but the fourth every citizen in every institution of civil society in every business into treating a same-sex relationship as a marriage. So all of a sudden religious liberty becomes threatening to them because that would protect those individuals who believe the US government.
Up until last year officially believed about marriage and what the state of Arizona currently believes about marriage to a certain extent they can see that the Supreme Court may strike down state marriage amendments in the near future. And then if that does happen don't want individuals or communities and their business associations to be free to continue to believe and act on the belief that marriage of the union of a man and a woman so individuals that have for the past several years, promoted the notion of tolerance and equality are acting absolutely contrary to that notion.
Would that be your assessment of this year the basic basic argument that we heard for decades now is that those same-sex relationships wanted the freedom to live in the love how they wanted to do freedom to live in the love how you want to doesn't include the right course other people into celebrating your romantic relationship as a marriage to the freedom to live in the love how you want as a corollary, freedom of the freedom to live and to work and to run a family business in accord with one's own values, not government coerced Iran traditional marriage supporters have been warning about these religious liberty. Implications of the legalization and recognition of same-sex marriage. For years, water same-sex marriage posed such a significant threat to religious liberty and one count of cases, especially related to businesses, have we seen across the country that have brought this issue to the forefront. Sure, you know, a New Mexico photographer declined to use artistic talent to promote a same-sex ceremony because of her religious beliefs about marriage in the New Mexico human rights commission ordered her to pay a fine of nearly $7000 Christian adoption and foster care agencies in Massachusetts, Illinois and Washington DC have been forced to stop providing those services because they believe the best place for kids is a married mom and dad and other examples include a Baker florist to bed-and-breakfast the student counselor to Salvation Army and more more or less every industry that runs up against marriage. Every whether the photographer, florist, innkeeper Baker, whether it's adoption and foster care providers. All these institutions that intersect with the marriage business that would wedding industry. The marriage relationship.
All of them could be potentially at risk and we've seen arguments from those in the Obama administration that they real religious freedom is just the freedom to worship.
It's something that priests and pastors enjoy on Sunday mornings inside the four walls of their church and it's something that worshipers enjoy but there happening it in. That's not what the free exercise of religion, which is what our Constitution protects is discussing. It's not just the freedom to worship the freedom to enter into public life and to lead your life in accordance with your religious beliefs to bring those values into civil society into the marketplace onto Main Street and onto Wall Street and that's what we need to be protecting liberty protections will run advocates for marriage redefinition including homosexual activist groups argue that same-sex marriage does not pose a threat to religious liberty because they say that pastors, priests and other clergy in America will never be forced to perform same-sex weddings or to preach that same-sex marriage or same-sex relationships are acceptable. First, is this true and doesn't the issue of religious liberty go further than just what is preached from the pulpit or whether a pastor performs a wedding ceremony, a course religiously related liberties for all Americans, not just for the ordained. For the first point to make here is that it's important that we never coerce what is preached in the pulpit or what is celebrated at the altar, but the second point to make here is that that can't be the only resistivity that we protect liberties for all Americans every day of the week, not just the ordained.
On Sunday morning that said, it does seem that we have a solid set of Supreme Court precedents and case law that would say that the government cannot coerce the priests, the pastor or other clergy members and performing a same-sex wedding or into preaching that same-sex marriage is acceptable. At the very least that religious belief and that free exercise of religion should be protected and will be protected. Given current Supreme Court jurisprudence, the real question right now is whether or not that will be the only resistivity that protected.
I think this are all Americans need to jealously guard our liberty and demand that the government not course, our beliefs, or our action respect to marriage, whether it be in church on Sunday morning or in the workplace Monday through Saturday run an increasing number of states of 17. In fact, plus the District of Columbia are redefining marriage to include the union of same-sex couples mostly through court rulings and in a few cases through legislative action. Most of the incidents involving religious businesses and organizations have occurred in states where same-sex marriage has been made legal. How can government and the citizens best protect the rights of religious individuals to operate their businesses and to live their lives according to their deeply held religious beliefs about marriage and family, particularly in states where marriage has been redefined by the legislature or the courts. Allstate should have two pieces of general legislation protected by the first of the state-level reference state-level religious freedom restoration act, which simply says that the government cannot substantially burden your religious belief. Unless there's a compelling state interest at the governments pursuing the least restrictive way possible. This would protect all sorts of religious beliefs and it would have a high burden for the government to meet before it violates religious liberty. In addition to the state-level reference. There also state-level marvelous Martha stands for the marriage and religious freedom act and this would specifically single out the belief that marriage of the union of a man and a woman and say that this is a reasonable belief that government ought not to penalize ought not to coerce ought not in any way to take retaliatory action towards those citizens and the communities they organizations that they form, who believe and act on the belief that marriage is a unit of a man and a woman so that one would specifically single out understanding of what marriage is and say this was the official legal understanding of marriage for 200 some years in the United States.
Those who continue to believe this about marriage should not be coerced or penalized by the government that will build all of related to that has been introduced in the US Congress that would address some of these issues that you were just speaking about. Can you tell us about that piece of legislation and how it might help here.
This is the marriage religious freedom act at the federal level, which was introduced in the house by representative role Labrador and has been introduced in the Senate by Sen. Blakely, I am with this more or less said that the federal government cannot take out Tory or punitive action against the citizen, or against the communities that the citizens form based upon their belief that marriage a unit of a man and a woman. Whether it comes to government grants or contracts, accreditation, government loans, government anything in which the government kind of is intersecting with civil society can't discriminate against someone because they believe marriage is a unit of Amanda will prevent the government from violating their it is the pretty right law enforcement were nearly out of time for this week. Our listeners go to read more about the clash between religious liberty and same-sex marriage and also to learn more about the heritage foundation in your great work. There should just go to heritage.org at the website for the heritage foundation also written a book on the topic titled what is marriage, man and woman and the website for the book. Just what is marriage book.com it just makes a rational argument that marriage is a unit of a man and a woman. Thank you for taking time to talk with us this week were really looking forward to having you join us at our Greenville Gen. March 24 and again if our listeners are interested in information about that event, contact the nuclear family policy Council at 919-807-0800 again. 919-807-0800 and please be sure to visit the heritage email@example.com and again avail yourselves of the great information that Ron Anderson is providing about the basis for marriage is one man and one woman.
Thank you again for being with us. Think having family policy matters. Information and analysis, future of the North Carolina family policy Council join us weekly discussion on policy issues affecting the family. If you have questions or comments. 91 907-0800 visit our website and see family.1