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Arizona Senate Bill 1062: Intentional Discrimination or Religious Freedom?

posted Mar 12, 2014, 9:33 PM by Unknown user   [ updated Mar 14, 2014, 8:42 AM by Unknown user ]

Matthew Bado

Since the introduction of Arizona Senate Bill 1062, the state governed by the famously conservative Jan Brewer has become a hotbed for religious and civil discussions. The bill would have allowed business owners to reject customers on religious grounds, and was passed by the Republican-controlled state legislature but was vetoed by the Governor.

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One of several similar bills introduced in U.S. state legislatures, SB (Senate Bill) 1062 was widely regarded by many as a bill designed to target those in the LGBT community. Arizona is no stranger to targeted bills with SB 1070 (Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act), an anti-illegal immigration bill said to be targeted at Hispanics.

The bill was originally pushed for by the Center for Arizona Policy, a conservative group outspokenly opposed to gay marriage and abortion. Organizations like the Center for Arizona Policy pushed for similar bills in other states, but none made it as far as SB 1062.

Following the approval of the bill by the Arizona state legislature, SB 1062 began to attract criticism from major figures and organizations such as Mitt Romney, Apple, Yelp, John McCain, and the National Football League, who stated that the Super Bowl would be pulled from Arizona if the measure was passed.

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Mounting political and corporate pressure from all sides urged Governor Brewer to veto the bill. Many said that the bill would become a black mark on the reputation of the state, and others pointed out how it would have a negative economic effect on the state as anti-bill businesses withdrew their business from Arizona.

In fact, many businesses were openly opposed to the bill and protested by placing signs outside their doors saying that they would not allow entry to politicians that signed the bill, in a parody of how the bill allowed businesses to refuse customers based on religion. Due to this mounting pressure, Governor Brewer decided to veto the bill.

“I assure you, as always, I will do the right thing for the state of Arizona,” said Gov. Brewer on her Twitter account (@GovBrewer) before vetoing the bill.