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Arizona’s Push For Legal Discrimination Against Gays

Arizona, on the cusp of a law allowing businesses to refuse to serve gays. We’ll dive in.

Jo Beaudry holds up a sign as she joins nearly 250 gay rights supporters protesting SB1062 at the Arizona Capitol, Friday, Feb. 21, 2014, in Phoenix. The protesters gathered demanding Gov. Jan Brewer veto legislation that would allow business owners to refuse to serve gays by citing their religious beliefs. (AP)

Jo Beaudry holds up a sign as she joins nearly 250 gay rights supporters protesting SB1062 at the Arizona Capitol, Friday, Feb. 21, 2014, in Phoenix. The protesters gathered demanding Gov. Jan Brewer veto legislation that would allow business owners to refuse to serve gays by citing their religious beliefs. (AP)

A bunch of states are now considering – and Arizona’s state legislature has now passed – law that would allow businesses, individuals, to discriminate against gay customers on religious grounds.  Deny them service.  Ohio, Mississippi, Idaho, South Dakota, Tennessee and Oklahoma have all seen similar legislation introduced.  But Arizona – where it all hinges now on Gov. Jan Brewer’s signature or veto – is out front.  Supporters say it’s about religious liberty.  Critics say its carte blanche for straight up discrimination.  This hour On Point:  gay rights, religious liberty and the law in Arizona.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Fernanda Echavarri, reporter and producer for Arizona Public Media. (@Fer_Echavarri)

Tony Merevick, LGBT reporter for BuzzFeed. (@tonymerevick)

Jennifer Pizer, law and policy director at Lambda Legal.

Doug Napier, senior vice president and senior counsel with the Alliance Defending Freedom.

From Tom’s Reading List

Washington Post: Kansas, Arizona bills reflect national fight over gay rights vs. religious liberty — “Gay rights are colliding with religious rights in states like Arizona and Kansas as the national debate over gay marriage morphs into a fight over the dividing line between religious liberty and anti-gay discrimination. More broadly, the fight mirrors the national debate on whether the religious rights of business owners also extend to their for-profit companies. Next month, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether companies like Hobby Lobby must provide contraceptive services that their owners consider immoral.”

BuzzFeed: Sens. John McCain, Jeff Flake Hope Arizona Governor Vetoes Anti-LGBT Bill — “U.S. Sen. John McCain said Monday he hopes Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoes legislation that opponents say would create a ‘license to discriminate’ against LGBT people in the state, following a similar statement made by U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake over the weekend. The measure, Senate Bill 1062, is currently pending Brewer’s signature after passing in the Arizona House last Thursday. The bill’s proponents say it would protect religious freedom in the state, but opponents say the law would open the door to widespread discrimination — particularly against the LGBT community.”

Mother Jones: Inside the Conservative Campaign to Launch ‘Jim Crow-Style’ Bills Against Gay Americans — “Republicans lawmakers and a network of conservative religious groups has been pushing similar bills in other states, essentially forging a national campaign that, critics say, would legalize discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Republicans in Idaho, Oregon, South Dakota, and Tennessee recently introduced provisions that mimic the Kansas legislation. And Arizona,Hawaii, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Mississippi have introduced broader ‘religious freedom’ bills with a unique provision that would also allow people to deny services or employment to LGBT Americans, legal experts say. “

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