The Arizona Senate has passed a bill that would allow business owners to refuse service to same-sex couples based on their religious views.
The Arizona Senate has passed a bill that would allow business owners to refuse service to same-sex couples based on their religious views. It will be heading to the desk of governor Jan Brewer this week, but at this point in time there is no indication of whether she’ll sign or veto the bill. Brewer, who is a Republican, vetoed a similar bill last year—describing it as a “distraction from more pressing matters facing the legislature.”
According to CNN, Brewer doesn’t necessarily believe that there needs to be a law that allows business owners to turn customers down. “I think anybody that owns a business can choose who they work with or who they don’t work with,” she said. “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.”
Same-sex marriage currently isn’t legally recognized in Arizona. In November of 2008, voters approved an amendment that limited marriage to one man and one woman. The controversy over this new bill has divided business owners as well as legal and political activists.
“I make dinner for a living — I’m not a social activist,” stated Rocco DiGrazia, owner of a Tucson pizzeria. “But I do have a lot of gay customers and employees, and why are you trying to alienate these people?” DiGrazia is fearful that the bill, if passed, would be “opening the door to hate and bigotry of all stripes.”
Recently, similar bills have been nearly passed in two other states—Kansas and Tennessee. Both states faced severe criticism from the public—and even other conservatives—during the consideration period. We’ll have to wait and see what happens once the Arizona bill hits Governor Brewer’s desk.
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