Center for Arizona Policy
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The Center for Arizona Policy (CAP) is a nonprofit conservative lobbying group based in Arizona. The organization advocates for the passage of socially conservative policies in the state. It also produces voter guides to encourage its supporters to elect conservative lawmakers. Over 100 bills supported by CAP have been signed into law in Arizona.
CAP employees co-wrote Arizona's controversial SB 1062, which would have shielded business owners and employees from lawsuits if they refused service to anyone based on sincerely held religious beliefs. The bill was vetoed by governor Jan Brewer.
The Center for Arizona Policy was founded by Len Munsil in 1995; he served as Founding President and General Counsel until 2005. The current President is Cathi Herrod, who joined the organization as legal counsel in 1997.
CAP receives some of its funding from the National Christian Charitable Foundation, an organization largely funded with money from the Hobby Lobby craft store company. In 2011 the Foundation awarded $236,250 of the $1.6 million CAP received in grant revenue that year.
CAP has supported and lobbied for over 100 bills that have been signed into law in Arizona. In 2012 alone, 13 CAP-supported bills passed, including a law banning abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
The Center for Arizona Policy opposes legal abortion and has supported legislation to restrict access to abortion. CAP helped to write a bill in Arizona to require that women to explain to their medical providers why they are seeking to have an abortion. Lawsuits against anti-abortion laws have cost Arizona taxpayers more than $2 million, but CAP president, Cathi Herrod, stated that the anti-abortion policies "outweigh the losses in court."
Civil Union OrdinancesEdit
In 2013, the City of Bisbee announced that it intended to legalize same-sex civil unions within the municipality. The Arizona Attorney General, Tom Horne, initially opposed the ordinance, but withdrew a legal challenge after the city adopted an amended version of the ordinance that complied with state laws. The Center for Arizona Policy opposed the city's move to offer civil unions and responded with a challenge saying, "If the City of Bisbee enacts a law recognizing a quasi-marital relationship not provided for by Arizona law, it will likely find itself involved in expensive and time-consuming litigation, which it is likely to lose." Following Bisbee, the cities and towns of Clarkdale, Cottonwood, Jerome, Sedona, and Tucson also approved of civil unions.
CAP describes acceptance of homosexuality in society as "a deceitful and angry ideology" and supports what it describes as a "biblical value that God has a specific intent for sexuality and that it is only realized in the relationship between one man and one woman within the confines of marriage."
The Center for Arizona Policy, along with the Alliance Defending Freedom, helped write Arizona Senate Bill 1062, a controversial bill that, if signed into law, would have allowed business owners and employees to refuse to serve anyone based on sincerely held religious beliefs. Supporters of the bill claimed it was meant to protect the religious freedoms of Arizonans, while opponents pointed out that it was intended to allow discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. Top aides for Arizona Governor Jan Brewer worked closely with CAP in crafting the language of the bill, but Brewer, in response to boycott threats and other economic pressure from various national groups, vetoed it on February 26, 2014, a few days after it passed the state Senate and House. CAP and its president Cathi Herrod received a great deal of media attention during the debate over the bill, with several stories highlighting the amount of influence the organization has in Arizona politics.
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- Carcamo, Cindy (2013-08-19). "Bisbee OKs same-sex civil unions, but only 4 couples say 'I do'". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2018-11-16.
- "With Civil Unions, Bisbee Sees Growth – Tucson 2013 NYTSJI | The New York Times Student Journalism Institute - Tucson, Arizona 2013 at the University of Arizona". tucson13.nytimes-institute.com. Retrieved 2018-11-16.
- "CAP's Letter to the Bisbee City Council | Center for Arizona Policy". Center for Arizona Policy. 2013-04-02. Retrieved 2018-11-16.
- Press, Associated (2013-12-19). "Cottonwood latest to approve civil unions". KNXV. Retrieved 2018-11-16.
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- Wingett Sanchez, Yvonne; Pitzl, Mary Jo (11 March 2014). "Brewer staff helped work on SB 1062". azcentral.com. Gannett. Retrieved 29 March 2014.
- Ashtari, Shadee (28 February 2014). "How One Right-Wing Christian Group Is Leading Arizona's March Toward Conservative Extremism". Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc. Retrieved 29 March 2014.