Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) may have vetoed SB 1062, the legislation Arizona lawmakers passed in the hopes that it would enable business owners to discriminate against gay people, but the fight over whether business owners have a legal right to discriminate is far from over. To the contrary, the Supreme Court could give anti-gay businesses sweeping new authority to discriminate in a pair of cases being argued next month. And, unlike the Arizona bill, a Supreme Court decision cannot simply be vetoed to prevent it from working a great deal of mischief.
Although SB 1062 became a subject of infamy because of its likely impact on the LGBT community — one of the bill’s supporters in the Arizona legislature claimed that it would prevent people with anti-gay religious views from being “punished for their religious beliefs” — the legislation was actually much broader. Current Arizona law provides fairly strong protections for people whose religious beliefs are at odds with following the law. The primary change that would have gone into effect if the Arizona bill became law is that corporations, business partnerships, or any “other legal entity” would have gained the right to make religious liberty claims as well.
If this issue sounds familiar, it should, because it’s the exact same issue behind two of the most high profile Supreme Court cases being hear this term — Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores and Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Sebelius. In both of those cases, for-profit businesses object, on religious liberty grounds, to complying with Obama Administration rules increasing access to birth control. One of the most important questions presented by both cases is whether a for-profit corporation can have religious faith at all, and if so, whether it can use that supposed faith as the basis for a legal claim.
Excerpt from "An Upcoming Supreme Court Case Could Impose Arizona’s Anti-Gay Bill On The Entire Country" by Ian Millhiser