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The proposed Arizona religious freedom law

February 25, 2014

As I write this, it is uncertain whether Arizona’s governor will or will not veto the law. Still, questions remain.

This debate often centers on gay wedding cakes, which is about as trivial a civil issue as I can imagine. There is no gay marriage in Arizona. Are we to imagine gay couples lugging wedding cakes to, say, California?

Consider these cases:

  • Bob and Larry (not their real names) want a wedding cake baked in Tucson.
  • Bob and Larry want to buy a saw from a hardware store to cut some dead branches.
  • Bob and Larry want to rent a room in an Arizona hotel. They want a king beg. Proprietor disapproves.
  • Bob and Larry want to rent a room in an Arizona hotel. They want two queens. Proprietor approves.
  • Bob and Larry zip up to the grocery store line with a basket of stuff. Grocer disapproves.
  • Two fraternity brothers, wishing to share a room, ask at a certain hotel what they have. Are told only king beds are available. Frat bros say, Fine. Proprietor shoos them away.

Maybe the wedding cake infringes on religious liberty. Maybe the Bob and Larry king size bed infringes on religious liberty. Maybe. Do the others similarly infringe? A saw? Two queen beds?

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