On Monday, Governor Doug Ducey signed a bill sponsored by Rep. Ben Toma, that protects the fundamental right of Arizonans to exercise their religion freely. The bill, HB 2507, protects religious organizations from discrimination and allow them to operate on the same terms as other essential businesses during times of crisis or emergency.
The newly enacted law prohibits state government from taking any discriminatory action against a religious organization on the basis that the organization is religious, operates or seeks to operate during a state of emergency, or engages in the exercise of religion. The bill also declares a religious service as an essential service during a state of emergency.
The bill does continue to keep religious organizations subject to legal liability for any criminal wrongdoing.
“During the pandemic, while Arizona was blessed with government leaders that respected religious freedom and the essential role of religious organizations to the people, that wasn’t the situation in some neighboring states,” said Toma. “This law ensures that religious freedom and services in Arizona will continue to be protected in the future, regardless of any emergency, or who leads the state.”