The Advocate reports:
The bill passed 33-27, largely along party lines, though three House Republicans opposed the legislation. The measure would give legal protection to businesses and individuals that deny goods and services to certain consumers — for instance, same-sex couples having a wedding or commitment ceremony — on the grounds that doing so would place a substantial burden on their exercise of religion. The service provider could use religious beliefs as a defense in a discrimination lawsuit. This could affect not only LGBT people but also, for instance, single women or people of different religions.
Similar measures have been proposed in several states in the wake of discrimination complaints by gay couples, but Arizona is poised to be the first to pass one into law. Brewer has five days to sign the bill, veto it, or do nothing and allow it to become law without her signature, The Arizona Republic reports.
Will Brewer sign it? She’s bucked her party before, notably on the Medicaid expansion under the ACA. And the law seems to me to be patently unconstitutional. But I’m no lawyer.
In related news, the Arizona Republic newspaper is urging Governor Brewer to veto the bill.
Twin bills, SB 1062 and HB 2153, are promoted by socially conservative groups that oppose gay marriage. The proposed law is so poorly crafted it could allow a Muslim taxi driver to refuse service to a woman traveling alone. Lawmakers opposed to this bill list a series of such scenarios. The real target, however, is the gay and lesbian community… In the rush to prevent anticipated problems, this bill elevates the religious beliefs of some above the civil rights of others. There has to be a better way to address the concerns of photographers who oppose gay marriage, especially in a state that doesn’t allow gay marriage…
This bill is a do-it-yourself black eye that would tag Arizona as a champion of anachronistic views of sexual orientation. That’s not just the wrong side of history; it’s the dumb side of economic development. We urge the governor to veto this bill as part of her continuing message that Arizona is open for business.
Amen to that.