Arizona Senate Bill 1062 amends the state’s religious freedom laws to specify that businesses and individuals can decline to provide their services to others if it interferes with their religious beliefs. Though the legislation does not mention anything about sexual orientation, it is widely understood to be targeting gays because of rulings in other states that bakers and wedding photographers could not refuse to provide their services for gay weddings.
The bill was approved by the state legislator and Gov. Jan Brewer is considering whether to sign it. But Republican politicians are now coming out against the legislation. Both of Arizona’s senators, John McCain and Jeff Flake, oppose the bill. Now three state senators who voted for the legislation have changed their minds. From the Associated Press:
State Sens. Bob Worsley, Adam Driggs and Steve Pierce sent their letter urging a veto just days after they joined the entire 17-member Senate GOP caucus in voting for the bill.
"I think laws are (already) on the books that we need, and have now seen the ramifications of my vote," Worsley told The Associated Press. "I feel very bad, and it was a mistake."
With the three GOP senators joining all 13 Senate Democrats in opposition, there would be enough votes to defeat the measure in a re-vote. But too much time has passed to allow a reconsideration, and the bill was sent to Brewer in a routine transmittal Monday that was accompanied by "boos" from Senate Democrats.
From Reason's coverage:
J.D. Tuccille takes note of businesses managing their own responses to the legislation.
I previously noted that sexual orientation isn’t covered by Arizona’s public accommodations law anyway, so whether SB 1062 is signed or not, businesses can already discriminate against gays in the state.
J.D. Tuccille says, "Arizona's SB 1062 is a Homophobic Stunt, Not a Blow Against Big Government."
UPDATE: As Gov. Brewer mulls whether to sign or veto the bill, business leaders are worried the state will lose the Super Bowl if it passes.
UPDATE: Companies such as AT&T and Delta are reportedly lobbying lawmakers across the country against laws like Arizona's, calling them bad for business.
UPDATE (7:51 p.m. ET 2/26/14) : Republican Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer says she has vetoed SB 1062.