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Saturday, October 22, 2016

By Cindy Carcamo, Los Angeles Times

TUCSON, Ariz. — Three Republicans who supported a bill bolstering the rights of business owners to refuse service to gays and others on the basis of religion reversed course Monday and asked the governor to veto the controversial measure.

Republican state Senators Adam Driggs, Steve Pierce and Bob Worsley delivered a letter to Governor Jan Brewer pleading for her to reject SB 1062. The measure is intended to bolster a business owner’s right to refuse service to gays and others if the owner believes doing so violates the practice and observance of his or her religion.

“While our sincere intent in voting for this bill was to create a shield for all citizens’ religious liberties, the bill has instead been mischaracterized by its opponents as a sword for religious intolerance. These allegations are causing our state immeasurable harm,” they wrote. “As Arizona leaders, we feel it is important to loudly proclaim that we strongly condemn discrimination in any form.”

Some foes of the legislation have threatened to boycott Arizona if the bill becomes law.

The three state lawmakers joined Arizona’s two U.S. senators, Republicans John McCain and Jeff Flake, in asking Brewer for a veto.

The governor has until Friday to sign or veto the bill, which the Legislature passed last week. She has said she hasn’t decided what she will do.

Gay rights activists, business groups, a coalition of faith-based leaders and politicians from various political persuasions also have blasted the bill.

Several online petitions against the bill are drawing support, including at least a dozen on The most popular, created by Jacqueline Todd of Phoenix, has more than 60,000 signatures, according to a spokesman for

Proponents of SB 1062 say the bill is being misrepresented as discriminatory when it is merely intended to protect religious freedom.

“The religious beliefs of all Arizonans must be respected, and this bill does nothing more than affirm that,” said Republican state Sen. Steve Yarbrough, who introduced the measure.

Technically, the bill expands the definition of the free exercise of religion, allowing a faithful person to adhere to his or her beliefs in practice. It also expands the definition of “person” to include any business, association and corporation, among others.

Arizona’s bill is similar to proposals in other states, including ones that failed in Kansas and Idaho. Another is under consideration in Utah.

The legislation comes as support for same-sex marriage is gaining momentum in the courts, and on the heels of two cases in which state courts sided with gay couples in wedding-related lawsuits.

In New Mexico, the state Supreme Court allowed a gay couple to sue a photographer who refused to photograph their commitment ceremony. And in Colorado, a state judge ruled against a baker who had refused to sell a wedding cake to a gay couple.

Photo: sigmaration via Flickr

  • disqus_ivSI3ByGmh

    So, it is considered “Religious Freedom” to deny someone goods or services based on the Religious Belief of the vendor. That means Christians should be able to deny goods or services to Jews and Muslims because they do not accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior. Mormons could deny goods or services to any “Gentile” because they have not accepted the teachings of Joseph Smith. Baptists could deny goods or services to Episcopalians because they practice Infant Baptism. Catholics could deny goods or services to any non-Catholic because past Popes have declared those non-Catholics as Heretics. And some “Christians” could deny services to Blacks based on the “Sin of Ham”!

    • daniel bostdorf

      Back in the 1950’s, it was called “Jim Crow” laws designed to deny Blacks and civil rights.

      Jim Crow laws

      Jim Crow laws, in U.S. history, statutes enacted by Southern states and municipalities, beginning in the 1880s, that legalized segregation between blacks and whites. The name is believed to be derived from a character in a popular minstrel song. The Supreme Court ruling in 1896 in Plessy v. Ferguson that separate facilities for whites and blacks were constitutional encouraged the passage of discriminatory laws that wiped out the gains made by blacks during Reconstruction. Railways and streetcars, public waiting rooms, restaurants, boardinghouses, theaters, and public parks were segregated; separate schools, hospitals, and other public institutions, generally of inferior quality, were designated for blacks. By World War I, even places of employment were segregated, and it was not until after World War II that an assault on Jim Crow in the South began to make headway. In 1950 the Supreme Court ruled that the Univ. of Texas must admit a black, Herman Sweatt, to the law school, on the grounds that the state did not provide equal education for him. This was followed (1954) by the Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kans., declaring separate facilities by race to be unconstitutional. Blacks in the South used legal suits, mass sit-ins, and boycotts to hasten desegregation. A march on Washington by over 200,000 in 1963 dramatized the movement to end Jim Crow. Southern whites often responded with violence, and federal troops were needed to preserve order and protect blacks, notably at Little Rock, Ark.

      more here:

  • Daniel Jones

    Okay, you three idiots! (referring to Senators Adam Driggs, Steve Pierce and Bob Worsley)

    I like that you had the political self-preservation instinct to back away from the attempt to re-impose segregation.

    That said:

    The law IS a sword of homophobic intolerance. YOU were the ones that thought to link it to religion as a blind.

    YOU are homophobes, or at the very least thought you could set up “rainbow” seating at the back of the friggin’ bus!

    You are NOT going to walk this back! You ARE guilty! By the way, in saying the allegations are what cause the damage when they are in fact *factual*, you’re admitting that the only reason you’re trying to squirm out of this is that you got called out on it!

    Honesty is not the problem, *dishonesty* is!
    How’s about, next time, you just don’t DO something this hateful!!

    Normally I would say “have a nice day”, but you lying, evil, prejudicial Senators can just *kiss my ass*.

    • daniel bostdorf

      Steve Pierce was on MSNBC Chris Hayes show. He was extremely contrite. Hayes brought out the same points and he publically admitted he made a serious mistake.

      He is not walking it back….he is being a politician caught in a significant political error in judgement..

      Because he got caught and is being villified for it..

      And he deserves it..

  • dmhlt_66

    WHOA, guys … WAYYYY too many people were watching our illegal shenanigans.
    Let’s back off and try it later after things quiet down a bit.