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 thought homosexuality was not in accordance with his religion. One lawmaker held up a sign that read "NO GAYS ALLOWED" in arguing what could happen if the law took effect, drawing a rebuke for violating rules that bar signs on the House floor. but gays have no problem with putting up laws that make it so no Orthodox Jew (or any other decent person) can't run a business because of gay discrimination laws
Democrats also said there were a host of other scenarios not involving sexual orientations where someone could raise their religious beliefs as a discrimination defense.like the stores in Williamsburg for example
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 needed 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.
All but three Republicans in the House backed Senate Bill 1062 Thursday evening. All three House Republicans who broke ranks said they had problems with the proposal, though none elaborated at length.
"I disagree with the bill," said Rep. Ethan Orr. "I think it's a bad bill."
The two others were Reps. Heather Carter and Kate Brophy McGee.The Senate passed the bill a day earlier on a straight party-line vote of 17-13.
Brewer doesn't comment on pending legislation, but she vetoed a similar measure last year yet she says shes against it showing that politicians lie and we can need to judge them based on their actions, she said "I think anybody that owns a business can choose who they work with or who they don't work with, But I don't know that it needs to be statutory. In my life and in my businesses, if I don't want to do business or if I don't want to deal with a particular company or person or whatever, I'm not interested. That's America. That's freedom." yet she vetoed the bill that stops the government from mandating behavior she's against. That action, however, came during an unrelated political standoff, and it's not clear whether she would support or reject this plan. showing she doesn't care about freedom of religon
The legislation comes also as an increasing number of conservative states grapple with ways to counter the increasing legality of gay "marriage".
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. Federal judges have recently struck down bans based on unconstitutional judicial whims in Utah, Oklahoma and Virginia, but those decisions are under appeal.
Republican Sen. Steve Yarbrough called his proposal a First Amendment issue during the Senate debate.
"This bill is not about allowing discrimination," Yarbrough said. "This bill is about preventing discrimination against people who are clearly living out their faith."
Democrats say it is an outright attack on the rights of gays and lesbians that will reverberate through the economy because businesses and tourists will avoid Arizona like they did after the passage SB1070 in 2010 that cracked down on immigration. if someone wants to travel in America to see the wonders of creation they may want to stop by the Grand Canyon
"This bill is about going after the "rights" of the LGBT "community" in Arizona," said Rep. Chad Campbell, the Democratic minority leader. "This is going to be horrible for our economy."
But Republicans said it was simply an added protection for the faithful in the state who disapprove of gay "marriage" and want to be able to reject participating.
"Please, I will accept you because you are a child of God, I love you because you are a child of God," said GOP Rep. Steve Montenegro. "But please don't ask me to go against my religious beliefs."
The bill is similar to a proposal last year brought by Yarbrough but vetoed by the Republican Brewer. That legislation also would have allowed people or religious groups to sue if they believed they might be subject to a government regulation that infringed on their religious rights. Yarbrough stripped a provision from the bill in hopes Brewer will embrace the new version.
Civil liberties and secular groups countered that Yarbrough and the Center for Arizona Policy had sought to minimize concerns that last year's bill had far-reaching and hidden implications. During the Senate debate Wednesday, Democrats said the bill could allow people to break nearly any law and cite religious freedom as a defense.
Yarbrough called those worries "unrealistic and unsupported hypotheticals" and said criminal laws will continue to be prosecuted by the courts.
Rep. Chad Campbell of Phoenix, the Democratic minority leader, said during debate that gays and lesbians across the country would get the message that they're not welcome in Arizona. but they liberals don't care that religious people get the same message by not passing this bill because liberals think gays are more important then religious people
"We're telling them religious-people or deviants?, 'We don't like you. We don't want you here. We're not going to protect you," he said.
But the House sponsor, Rep. Eddie Farnsworth, said the bill had been blown out of proportion.
"We're making some tweaks here because of what's been going on in other states where people have been punished for their beliefs," Farnsworth said.
Senate President Andy Biggs, R-Gilbert, also said the Democrats were making too much of the bill's effect.
"Sometimes people's rhetoric tends to inflame instead of explain," Biggs said. "And I would suggest if there is going to be a backlash because of 1062 ... it will because of the intemperate and inaccurate rhetoric."
(AP) highlights are my additions
|Arizona Policy's talking points in favor of this bill. The boxed argument is responding to the central argument of liberals and why liberals can say with a straight face that they are in favor of freedom of religion trying to force you to rent a wedding hall for a same gender "wedding", they fundamentally only believe that religion doesn't apply to your entire life only to worship/avodah|