Published On: Sun, Feb 23rd, 2014

Arizona bill allows businesses to refuse service based on religious grounds

The Arizona Legislature has passed a religion bill that would allow individuals and businesses to use religious beliefs as defense against a lawsuit.

photo  Julyo based on work by Gilbert Baker, 1979 via wikimedia commons

photo Julyo based on work by Gilbert Baker, 1979 via wikimedia commons

This is in response to lawsuits such as the wedding photographer who declined to photograph a same-sex couple’s ceremony on the grounds of the photographer’s religious beliefs. He or she could not be sued.

House Bill 2153, which was written by conservative advocacy group Center for Arizona Policy and the Alliance Defending Freedom, has stirred up controversy with critics saying that it is discriminatory against lesbians and gays.

Opponents are calling it the “right to discriminate” bill.

“Some people are uncomfortable about the cultural and legal changes that increasingly recognize gays and lesbians as equal and worthy human beings,” editors wrote in an opinion column for the Arizona Republic. “Those individuals have a right to their opinions. They have a right to follow whatever faith they choose. But using religion as an excuse to codify discrimination is wrong.”

Supporters, however, say it would protect people.

“We are trying to protect people’s religious liberties,” said Rep. Steve Montenegro, R-Litchfield Park. “We don’t want the government coming in and forcing somebody to act against their religious sacred faith beliefs or having to sell out if you are a small-business owner.”

The bill will now be sent to Gov. Jan Brewer, who has five days to sign it into law or veto it.

If Brewer does nothing, it is allowed to become a law.

Senator Jeff Flake announced his opposition to the bill in a Twitter post Saturday.

“I hope Governor Brewer vetoes SB 1062,” he said.

Brewer is in Washington for a National Governors Association conference. She told CNN Friday she still needed to “get my hands around” what she called “a very controversial piece of legislation.”

A polled followed the New Mexico photographer case mentioned above with 85% of Americans supporting their right to refuse service – more HERE

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About the Author

- Catherine "Kaye" Wonderhouse, a proud descendant of the Wunderhaus family is the Colorado Correspondent who will add more coverage, interviews and reports from this midwest area.

Displaying 4 Comments
Have Your Say
  1. Arizona Gov Jan Brewer vetoes bill allowing businesses to refuse services based on religious beliefs - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed a controversial bill Wednesday that would have allowed businesses to legally refuse service based on religious beliefs. […]

  2. Eric Holder tells the States’ AG not to bother defending gay marriage bans - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] In Arizona, gay marriage supporters are pressuring Gov. Jan Brewer not to veto a bill that protects the religious rights of business owners who don’t want to provide services for same-sex couples. […]

  3. Chuck Anziulewicz says:

    All the bakeries and photographers and caterers that people think are being so horribly put-upon? They aren’t in the business of providing spiritual guidance or enforcing moral doctrines. They are there to turn a profit. As such, they are obligated to abide by prevailing civil rights laws, whether those laws protect people from discrimination based on race, religion, or sexual orientation.

    Should a restaurant owner be able to refuse service to Blacks because he has “moral objections” to race-mixing? Should an employer be able to fire a Muslim employee because he wants to run “a nice Christian workplace”?

    If they answer to both questions is NO, what justification is there refusing service to a Gay couple who wish to get a wedding cake or celebrate their anniversary in a restaurant? Does this bill allow people to use “religious freedom” as a justification for discriminating against ANY customer, or does it simply single out Gay citizens?

    Either way, it’s going to do WONDERS for tourism. I predict Jan Brewer will veto this bill … though for economic reasons, NOT because she has any sympathy for her LGBT constituents. She does NOT.

  4. ‘Star Trek’ star George Takei targets Arizona’s ‘Turn Away Gay’ bill coming it to Jim Crow era - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] Arizona bill allows businesses to refuse service based on religious grounds […]

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