For the past week, different parts of the country have rallied behind each side of a political war that has raged in Arizona over a bill that could potentially allow shop owners the right to deny service to homosexual patrons.
SB1062, or the “anti-gay” bill as it is now commonly known, would allow all business owners the freedom to deny service to any customer that may deem as disagreeing with their religious views, namely homosexuality. Supporters of the bill championed it with the belief that it was a way in which to defend the religious freedoms of the Arizona citizens and was in not discriminatory in any form. This proved a sufficiently convincing arguments as the bill passed the AZ House of Legislature last Thursday with a vote of 33-27, followed by its passing in the State Senate with a vote of 17-13.
As the SB1062 seemed to gain momentum, so did it gain National attention from both sides. While there were many supporters from states such as Kansas who recently passed a similar bill, the greater rallying force came from the side looking to demolish the bill. There were the obvious crowds that formed in support of gay rights, stating that this bill was an abomination, enforcing segregation and discrimination the likes of which haven’t been seen since the civil rights movement. However, the possibly more powerful argument came in the form, almost astonishingly, of Big Business and the Super Bowl Commission.
With AZ governor Brewer still yet to vote on the bill, there were still words to be had. Businesses such as Apple who were looking to open a new glass plant in AZ were putting strong pressure on the veto, and they weren’t alone. Marriott was the author of a letter to Brewer stating that the bill “would have profound negative impacts on the hospitality industry,”. With next year’s NFL Superbowl scheduled to take place in a suburb of Phoenix, the Superbowl Host Committee stated plainly that SB1062 would “deal a significant blow to the state’s economic growth potential. We do not support this legislation.”
On February 26th, 2014, governor Brewer announced her veto of the bill on the grounds that its vagueness could lead to “unintented and negative consequences”. When asked to comment further in a speech to the press she stated here:
“To the supporters of the legislation, I want you to know that I understand that long-held norms about marriage and family are being challenged as never before. Our society is undergoing many dramatic changes. However, I sincerely believe that Senate Bill 1062 has the potential to create more problems than it purports to solve. It could divide Arizona in ways we cannot even imagine and no one would ever want.”
While this bill is defeated, because it is not the first of its kind, it is unclear wether this is the last we shall hear of these “Religious Freedom” bills.