Wisconsin’s proposed religious discrimination amendment is even worse than Arizona’s religious discrimination bill

Late last year, I wrote about a proposal (which was featured by Heather Asiyanbi of Racine County Eye) by the Republicans in the Wisconsin State Legislature to propose an amendment to the Wisconsin Constitution that would, in effect, allow many different forms of religious discrimination in Wisconsin.

Since the Arizona Legislature recently passed an atrocious bill that, if enacted, would allow Arizona businesses to refuse service to LGBT people on religious grounds, I’d figure that I’d remind the people of the State of Wisconsin that Republicans want to enact an even more atrocious measure in Wisconsin.

While Republicans are calling this proposal the “Religious Freedom Amendment”, in reality, it’s a religious discrimination amendment that, in effect, would turn a shield of constitutional protections of religious freedom into a sword that anyone could use to discriminate against people on religious grounds. Not only would the religious discrimination amendment allow businesses to refuse service to LGBT people (or any other group of people) on religious grounds, it would allow pharmacists and/or pharmacies to refuse to dispense contraception prescriptions to women and undermine virtually all anti-discrimination measures in Wisconsin.

The proposed religious discrimination measure in Wisconsin is even worse than the anti-LGBT bill in Arizona in another regard: unlike the Arizona bill, which, if enacted, would become a state statute that could easily be repealed if a big enough backlash to the bill were to result in the election of a majority of Arizona state legislators who were strongly opposed to the bill, the Wisconsin measure is a proposed amendment to the Wisconsin Constitution which, if ratified, would be extremely difficult to repeal. Wisconsin requires that approval by a majority of both houses of the Wisconsin State Legislature in two consecutive legislatures and a majority popular vote in a referendum election in order to enact a state constitutional amendment in Wisconsin, and the same lengthy process would be required in order to repeal a state constitutional amendment.

While Arizona Republicans are busy trying to enact bigotry into their state’s laws, Wisconsin Republicans are proposing a religious discrimination amendment that, in many ways, is far worse than the atrocious legislation the Arizona Legislature passed. If the proposed religious discrimination amendment makes it to the ballot, I strongly encourage Wisconsinites to vote against it.

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About Aaron Camp

Blogger who mostly writes about Illinois and Wisconsin politics. Atheist. Democrat. Progressive. Resident of Westville, Illinois. Sole blogger of The Progressive Midwesterner.

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