Secular Summit 2019 Tickets Available

Join us on December 7 for the 5th annual Secular Summit!

This members-only event is a day of secular networking, education, advocacy and action, including updates from our legal team and our Director of Government Affairs. (Not a member yet? Become one today!)

Our keynote speaker this year is Mandisa Thomas, founder of Black Nonbelievers. More speakers to be announced!

Tickets are just $15, lunch included. Become a host, super host, or event sponsor and help support the fight to keep Arizona secular!

RSVP now to save your seat. Tickets on sale until 12/5, so don’t wait!

See you at the Summit!

AZ Supreme Court Upholds Bigotry in the Name of Religious Freedom

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Secular government supporters decry Supreme Court decision upholding religious discrimination against LGBTQ customers

(Wed., Sept 17, 2019) Phoenix, Ariz. — The Arizona Supreme Court decided 4-3 yesterday that business owners who cite a conflict of religious belief can be permitted to refuse to serve certain customers. Specifically, the case ruled that the city of Phoenix could not enforce an ordinance which prohibits discrimination in providing products or services at places of public accommodation based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or disability.

The court ruled in favor of two self-described Christian artists at Brush and Nib Studio, saying the City cannot force them to create custom wedding invitations for same-sex couples. The women argued that the ordinance violates their First Amendment and Arizona constitutional rights to religion and free speech. 

The women were represented by Scottsdale-based Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a legal group which challenges similar laws nationwide, and which is identified as an anti-LGBTQ hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Per attorney and Secular Coalition for Arizona board member Dianne Post: “As the court said in Washington v. Arlene’s Flowers, it’s not about cakes or flowers—or in this case, invitations— any more than the sit-ins in the south in the 1960s were about sandwiches and soda. This is about equality and fairness. Movements toward theocracy betray American values and the Constitution.

“How do we know a person is actually motivated by a sincere religious belief rather than ignorance or bigotry? What’s really happening here is an effort to give special privileges to a narrow segment of Christians while stigmatizing other groups and refusing them the constitutional protection of the 14th Amendment— that all citizens shall not be denied equal rights under the law. This is clearly a political decision based on Christian nationalism, accomplished by the court-packing plan of Governor Ducey. Rather than engage the issue, the court has chosen to see, hear, and speak no evil in the face of evil standing in front of them.”

Legal experts have anticipated a challenge like this returning to the U.S. Supreme Court since the ADF represented a Colorado baker facing penalty under that state’s anti-discrimination law in 2018.

We Did It!! Bill Funneling Taxpayer $ to Fake “Women’s Health Clinics” Defeated

GOOD NEWS! Late night, the AZ Senate voted down a terrible bill that would have funneled taxpayer money into fake “women’s health” clinics that were, in reality, fronts for pro-life groups that seek to thwart access to safe, legal abortion.

 

HB 2759 got just 15 votes, one short of what’s needed -thanks in large part to secular supporters like you who raised their voices loudly in opposition to this bill.

As Secular AZ’s Tory Roberg says, “We are strong, but we are mighty!”

We want to thank those who spoke out, attended the rally at the State Capitol, and contacted their lawmakers to voice their opposition to this clear violation of separation of church and state.

Secular AZ took your voices to the House and Senate, where Tory stood up and testified in front of both appropriations committees. Secular AZ was alone in providing public testimony… and these efforts made the difference!

But this is just one of many such battles. Did you know that Secular AZ is the only group with a paid lobbyist, full legal team, and active board of volunteers that fight tirelessly for separation of church and state at the Capitol?

We don’t receive funding from any national groups. Instead, we rely solely on the generosity of Arizonans like you who understand the value of this work.

When the lines between church and state blur, we see attempts to:
  • limit access to reproductive health care
  • restrict women’s right to choose
  • install policies that discriminate against LGTBQ individuals
  • pass bills that harm sound science and medicine
  • decrease funding for public schools

With more than 4,000 supporters around the state, we amplify the voice of reason at the Arizona State Capitol as we fight for secular public policies that benefit allArizonans.

Help us keep fighting! Now, more than ever, we need your support. Please donate today to help keep religious influence out of Arizona’s public policy.

“Be the Curators of Inspiration”: Listen to Robert People’s Secular Invocation

Follow this link to watch Robert Peoples of the Affinis Humanity Coalition deliver a moving secular invocation before the AZ State Senate as a guest of Sen. Andrea Dalessandro and Secular AZ.

https://youtu.be/xHvVnrprETQ

For a transcript, visit Patheos Friendly Atheist Blog at: https://friendlyatheist.patheos.com/2019/04/02/humanist-delivers-invocation-in-az-senate-be-the-curators-of-inspiration/?fbclid=IwAR07YMntqGvHQOcTk-1XdC-C8zfSEKJ7Z25YnXoTy3EVdwauaKG6ET5-2X0

Candidate Surveys for November, 2018 Election

We want you to be informed before November’s election!

The Secular Coalition for Arizona offered each candidate the opportunity to respond to a survey about their views on secular-related issues. We’ll publish each survey as we receive it. 
 

2017 Legislative Wrap Up is Here

The Secular Coalition for Arizona (Secular AZ) ignited our 2017 legislative work in a charged political environment colored by the general election. We started strong, locking arms in solidarity with over 40 anti-discrimination groups during an Opening Day rally. We began lobbying immediately on January 12th against regressive bills aimed at education, science, and women’s reproductive rights. Despite the steep challenges, we remain excited by our steady gains in visibility and impact in recent years. Here’s a summary of key wins and obstacles. Read the 2017 Legislative Wrap Up here.

Step-by-step guide on Legislature’s “Request to Speak” System (RTS)

You’ve heard us ask you to sign into the “Request to Speak” system in support or opposition to bills we are following at the Arizona State Legislature.  Here is a step-by-step guide on how to use this system from the comfort of your own home.  A few reminders about the limitations of the system:
1. You may only comment on bills that are currently assigned to a committee agenda; once the bill is heard in the committee you may not add a comment
2. You must activate your account the first time you use it at the AZ State Capitol.  We can help you with this if you are not able to get to the Capitol or Tucson Legislative office.

 

AZ State Legislature – A Look Into 2017

The Secular Coalition for Arizona is dismayed about the results of Tuesday night’s election.  We’re especially concerned about preserving secular public education, equal rights for all, safe and affordable access to women’s reproductive health services, and religious freedom for all.

While these are concerns nationally, we are especially concerned regarding the new leadership at the Arizona State Senate and Arizona House of Representatives.

Going into the election, there was hope that the Arizona Senate would turn into a 15-15 split evenly between Democrats and Republicans, offering some hope for stopping bad bills and negotiating a bipartisan budget.  Unfortunately, this has not happened.  The gains made by Democrats will not outweigh the losses, and are not enough to produce an even split, but the Arizona State Senate will still be our best avenue to stop bad bills.

Senator Steve Yarbrough, owner of the Arizona Christian School Tuition Organization, will lead the Senate as the new Senate President.  Senator Kimberly Yee, regularly known for sponsoring and pushing anti-choice and junk science legislation, will serve as Senate Majority Leader.  Senator Gail Griffin, who scored a low 14% on our Secular Scorecard, will serve as Majority Whip.

Senate Democrats look brighter for Secular Government, as several of our “Secular Stars” were chosen for leadership positions.  Senate Democrats chose Secular Star Senator Katie Hobbs as Minority Leader, Senator Steve Farley as Assistant Minority Leader, and Secular Star Senator Martin Quezada and Senator Lupe Contreras as Minority Whips.  

In the House of Representatives, Representative JD Mesnard was chosen for the new Speaker of the House.  He is accompanied by Representative John Allen as Majority Leader and Representative Kelly Townsend as Majority Whip.  

Democrats chose Representative Rebecca Rios as Minority Leader, Secular Star Representative Randall Friese as Assistant Minority Leader, and Representative Charlene Fernandez as Minority Whip.

Secular AZ will fight earnestly with new leadership in both changes to preserve secular public policy and freedom for all Arizonans.  We encourage you to amplify your voice in our new government by becoming a member today!