“Religious Liberty” Campaign: Buyer’s Remorse?

We’ll probably find out later today if AZ Gov. Jan Brewer is going to sign or veto S.B. 1062, the “religious liberty” bill passed by the Republican-controlled legislature in a fit of empathy for Bakers of Conscience and others disturbed by the expectation that they will treat gay people with respect. The business community, fearing a boycott, and even some Republicans who voted for the bill are now begging Brewer to kill it.

But aside from this particular bill and this particular issue, there are growing signs the whole “religious liberty” campaign, begun with such fanfare in 2012, is encountering some buyer’s remorse these days. That’s the subject of my latest column at TPMCare: a campaign designed to expand the reach of religious conservatives by cloaking their extremist positions in the mantle of the Constitution is now helping expose their extremism on LGBT and reproductive rights in a new and graphic way. It will be very interesting in light of the Arizona debacle to see if the “war on religion” these birds have been squawking about suddenly doesn’t seem so central any more.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.