Arizona bill allowing faith-based refusal of service sparks controversy
Saturday, February 22, 2014 - 01:25
Feb. 22 - Arizona lawmakers pass a bill that allows businesses to refuse service to customers when such work would violate their religious beliefs. Gavino Garay reports.
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It's what some gay rights advocates are calling the "Go Away Gay" bill.
On Thursday, Arizona lawmakers gave the go-ahead to a bill that would allow businesses the right to refuse service to customers, if providing that service would violate their religious beliefs.
The bill would give business owners a defense against discrimination lawsuits in cases where providing that service would have burdened the exercise of their religious beliefs.
Critics are calling it a bill that will allow businesses to discriminate against gays and others.
Here in Tucson, Arizona, hundreds came out in protest of the bill Friday.
(NAT SOUND OF PROTEST)
Monica Jones drew comparisons between Arizona's bill and recent legislation in Russia that critics said was anti-gay.
(SOUNDBITE) MONICA JONES SAYING:
"Think about what this says to the rest of the country. We are not Russia. We are a first nation. And, as Americans we have civil rights. So, think about that."
But Republican Adam Kwasman of the Arizona House of Representatives supports the bill.
(SOUNDBITE) REPUBLICAN MEMBER OF THE ARIZONA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ADAM KWASMAN:
"I don't see this as an attack insofar as those who believe you're protecting your right to practice your religion and not engage in a contract."
Critics of the bill say it comes at a time when same-sex marriage activists have won several court victories.
Republican Governor Jan Brewer hasn't indicated whether she'll sign it into law.
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