Arizona's Brewer Faces Decision on Gay Rights

Bill would give businesses right to refuse service to homosexuals
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 22, 2014 6:05 AM CST
Arizona's Brewer Faces Decision on Gay Rights
This Feb. 1, 2014, file photo shows Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer.   (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, file)

Arizona is once again at the center of a hot-button national issue, but this time it's gay rights instead of immigration. The state Legislature this week passed a bill that would allow business owners to cite their religious beliefs and refuse service to gay people, reports AP. Now Gov. Jan Brewer must decide whether to sign, and it's anybody's guess whether she will do so, reports the Arizona Republic. She has vetoed similar legislation previously, but she also told CNN yesterday that business owners should be able to "choose who they work with or who they don't work with."

Still, business groups such as the Greater Phoenix Economic Council want Brewer to veto the bill because they say it would damage the state's reputation and actually hurt business. Proponents see it as a matter of religious liberty. "In America, people should be free to live and work according to their faith, and the government shouldn’t be able to tell us we can’t do that,” an attorney with the Alliance Defending Freedom tells the New York Times. Counters an ACLU official: “Religious freedom is a fundamental right, but it’s not a blank check to harm others or impose our faith on our neighbors." Kansas' House recently passed similar legislation, but Arizona is the first state whose full legislature has backed it. (Click to read about a new study that suggests the homophobic live shorter lives.)

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