The Arizona legislature has passed a bill and put it on Gov. Brewer's desk that protects persons, businesses or legal entities from prosecution for exercise of their conscientious objection to government mandates due to sincerely held religious belief. To wit: Christians can, without legal threat, deny services to openly gay people.
Hell, I think it's a terrific idea! And it shouldn't be limited to just religious beliefs!
I think persons, businesses and legal entities should be able to deny services to anyone for any reason without fear of legal entanglement. The less .gov butts into people's business, the better, as far as I'm concerned. Want to deny services to people because they're black? Fine! Jewish? Go right ahead! Physically disabled? Knock yourself out. Cismale gendernormatives? If you can spell it, sure!
The function of government should not be to punish people for acting on their fervently held beliefs. It's function should be to ensure that potential customers are made aware up front who a person, business or legal entity will refuse service to.
They already do that in a tiny way under Arizona Revised Statute §4-229, which states:
A. A person with a permit issued pursuant to section 13-3112 may carry a concealed handgun on the premises of a licensee who is an on-sale retailer unless the licensee posts a sign that clearly prohibits the possession of weapons on the licensed premises. The sign shall conform to the following requirements:A sign like this:
1. Be posted in a conspicuous location accessible to the general public and immediately adjacent to the liquor license posted on the licensed premises.
2. Contain a pictogram that shows a firearm within a red circle and a diagonal red line across the firearm.
3. Contain the words, "no firearms allowed pursuant to A.R.S. section 4-229".
So, the legislature should simply extend this logic to whatever other prejudices there are out there and require signage to advise potential customers where they're not wanted. Something like this, for instance:
That way everyone will know right up front what kind of bigots they will be dealing with, and can decide for themselves whether or not they want to spend their money there. No hurt feelings, no lawsuits.