Arizona bill would allow banning service to gays
PHOENIX — The Arizona Legislature gave final approval on Thursday to legislation that would allow business owners asserting their religious beliefs to refuse service to gays and others.
The proposal drew backlash from Democrats, who called it “state-sanctioned discrimination” and an embarrassment.
The House 33-27 vote sends the legislation to Republican Gov. Jan Brewer and puts Arizona back at the forefront of a polarizing piece of legislation — four years after it enacted an immigration crackdown, causing a national furor.
Similar religion-protection legislation has been introduced in Ohio, Mississippi, Idaho, South Dakota, Tennessee and Oklahoma, but Arizona's plan is the only one that has cleared a legislature.
Republicans stressed that the bill is about protecting religious freedom and not discrimination. They frequently cited the case of a New Mexico photographer, who was sued after refusing to take wedding pictures of a gay couple.
Legislators said Arizona needs a law to protect residents from heavy-handed actions by courts and law enforcement.
The legislation prompted a heated debate on the floor of the House, touching on issues such as the religious freedom, constitutional protections and civil rights.
Opponents raised scenarios in which gay people in Arizona could be denied service at a restaurant or refused medical treatment if a business owner believes homosexuality isn't in accordance with his or her religion. One lawmaker held up a sign that read “NO GAYS ALLOWED” in arguing what could happen if the law took effect.
The bill is backed by the Center for Arizona Policy, a social conservative group that opposes abortion and gay marriage. The group says the proposal is necessary to protect against increasingly activist federal courts and simply clarifies existing state law.
“We see a growing hostility toward religion,” said Josh Kredit, legal counsel for the group.
Arizona's voters approved a ban on same-sex marriage as a state constitutional amendment in 2008
It's one of 29 states with such prohibitions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Authorities raid home of Subway spokesman Jared Fogle
- F-16, small plane collide in midair over South Carolina
- In 2005, Cosby said he got drugs to give women for sex
- Chicago father won’t cooperate with police in shooting death of boy, 7
- Maryland mother charged with leaving baby on roadside
- Senante begins new debate on federal role for schools
- Heavy storms blast Kansas City area
- Some Texans fear military training mission has ulterior motives at Obama’s direction
- Chesapeake Bay pollution plan approved
- NSA resumes collection of phone data
- Disguise aids $75K robbery of Oklahoma Wal-Mart store