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Arizona House Approves Bill Allowing Refusal Of Service To Gays Based On Religious Beliefs

The Arizona House voted on Thursday to approve legislation that would allow business owners to use their religious beliefs as a legitimate reason to refuse service to gays and lesbians. The approval went through with a vote of 33-27 with only three Republicans choosing to vote against the bill. 

It now heads to Republican Governor Jan Brewer for signature. 

According to The Associated Press:

The bill allows any business, church or person to cite the law as a defense in any action brought by the government or individual claiming discrimination. It also allows the business or person to seek an injunction once they show their actions are based on a sincere religious belief and the claim places a burden on the exercise of their religion.

Interestingly, Republican lawmakers defend the bill arguing that it has nothing to do with discrimination. 

The bill's sponsor, Republican Sen. Steve Yarbrough described the legislation as a First Amendment issue:

"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 disagree arguing that it's a clear attack on the rights of gays and lesbians and that Arizona will face repercussions similar to those that it dealt with following its controversial immigration legislation that it passed in 2010. That was viewed by many to be racially motivated and discriminatory.  

Democratic minority leader Rep. Chad Campbell says, "This bill is about going after the rights of the LGBT community in Arizona. This is going to be horrible for our economy."

The argument has fallen on deaf ears amongst Republicans. According to AP:

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."

Gov. Brewer has five days to sign House Bill 2153. 

Comments

I wonder do the religious understand that they already have special rights granted by the Constitution. What will they do if the people turn against religion and strip these special rights and permit discrimination against the religious. I am fully aware that the religious already believe they are discriminated against, but I would have to say that most of it is in their minds.

I feel if jam passes this law, that  in the document it states that any Arizona business that participates in this new law be REQUIRED to POST A 36" x 48" SIGN on the entrance of their building stating their religious beliefs and WHO THEY WILL NOT SERVE.  For the entire world to see prior to the entry into their business

So why don't they also refuse business to divorced people, or Jews or people who masterbate? That would be against their religious beliefs too.

It's very obvious discrimination. We 're NOT stupid.

So they should have to not service people who wete divorced bc its against what they believe

Oh, so we're going to keep using religion as a tool for discrimination?  This is the same deal the polytheistic Romans had with the Monotheistic Jews and Christians.  Maybe the Romans should have finished the job feeding the lions.

Jam their hate, from their own damn website at http://www.azpolicy.org

Here's what I sent, but be creative!

Your message has been sent to the following recipients:

   * Governor Jan Brewer

The content of your message is as follows:

[The message(s) you sent had each recipient's salutation here]: 

This is ignorant, hate-based propaganda from a dying idealogy.

Our Constitution guarantees that in America, people are free - regardless of well...anything

Yet as religious-based hostility grows throughout the nation, it has become clear that the rights of all citizens are under attack.

That's why I ask you not to sign SB 1062, to make it clear that all people are welcome in our state.

No one should be forced to forfeit their rights simply because they go to work or to a business that may be run by an insecure racist or homophobic bigot.

Please stand up for true liberty and oppose this vile propaganda called SB 1062!

Sincerely,

steven scott

So that means gay business owners can refuse business to straight patrons, right?

I thought so to initially, until I read "sincere religious belief". So probably means that even I'm gay and my religion believes in equality and will refuse service to homophobes, that will not work as it is not a 'sincere religious belief"

Arizona's economy will definitely go down just like in Detroit. Part of me thinks, let them pass this bill so they will all fee the reprocussion of their actions. Business will go down, people will leave and Jan Brewer's legacy will be tainted by failure

How does one prove that one's religious beliefs are "sincere"?  Does this include all religions, or just the ones that the state of Arizona recognizes?  How about "private" sincere religious beliefs?

They will alienate themselves if this passes and will be bankrupt within a year or two ...  What a disgrace on humanity and civilization 

We were considering moving to Arizona, I guess we'll love for a state that is a little more progressive and a lot less regressive. Jan, you've seriously lost you bead if you sign this into law.

...look for a state not love for a state.

I think we should all stop going to Arizona - not for Business, not for Tourism, not for Anything - let's not contribute to their economy.

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