Arizona Legislature Approves Bill Allowing Businesses to Refuse Service to Gays


The Arizona House voted 33-27 today to give its approval to a bill already approved by the Arizona Senate that would allow businesses to refuse service to gays based on their religious beliefs.

The AP reports:

Opponents raised scenarios in which gay people in Arizona could be denied service at a restaurant or refused medical treatment if a business owner thought homosexuality was not in accordance with his religion. One lawmaker held up a sign that read "NO GAYS ALLOWED" in arguing what could happen if the law took effect, drawing a rebuke for violating House rules.

The bill is backed by the Center for Arizona Policy, a social conservative group that opposes abortion and gay marriage. The group says the proposal is needed to protect against increasingly activist federal courts and simply clarifies existing state law.

"We see a growing hostility toward religion," said Josh Kredit, legal counsel for the group.

All but three Republicans in the House backed the bill Thursday evening. The Senate passed the bill a day earlier on a straight party-line vote of 17-13.

The bill is similar to legislation pending in Ohio, Mississippi, Idaho, South Dakota, Tennessee and Oklahoma. It now heads to Governor Jan Brewer for signature.

(image neil schneider)


  1. AdamTh says

    Next step: Federal district court, and AZ is part of the 9th Circuit – which has recently said cases involving discrimination based on sexual orientation will be required to meet heighten scrutiny.

    Gov Airhead, please sign it. This should be fun to watch!

  2. Patrick says

    Go ahead, Arizona, show yourself to be an ass. The new civil rights movement needs all the evidence we can get to show that intolerance and bigotry is real. Thanks!

  3. pete n sfo says

    So any thoughts on the long-game on this? Why would they waste everyone’s time on legislation that is obviously absurd?

    Is it fundraising? Are they that in denial? Are they courting extreme primary voters?

    At a time when the GOP seems increasingly out of touch, it seems bizarre. What do ppl really think?

  4. Matt says

    Hopefully, this is a sign we are living in the twilight of modern religion. Science and technology both are moving so rapidly. Some people are left behind and understandably, angry and confused resulting in passing these last desperate grabs for power . I knew religion was a scam when, in 1971, the priest and nuns would not answer my questions about the dinosaurs. I knew thenthey were real even at six years old. I’m perhaps a little spiritual but all major religions are a turn off. And, if there is a hell, I will be with the people I love!

  5. Richard Harney says

    You think that there is hostility towards religion now? This goes well beyond Arizona. The separation of church and everything else just keeps getting wider.

  6. Shawn says

    Hopefully the law won’t stand up in court. It seems to leave things open for a slippery slope, aside from being wrong enough already. Why not religious discrimination against people who have used birth control, had premarital sex, divorced, women who have had an abortion?

  7. Mike says

    In fact Shawn, the slope would go directly to women, any people of colour … the Bible has plenty of scripture to reject almost any category of humanity you care to name.

  8. Mel Smith says

    As a gay black man, I will not be visiting Arizona and Florida. That s$!t is modern day segregation and Jim Crow.

  9. Randy says

    “We see a growing hostility toward religion”

    Gee, I wonder why.

    It’s time to end the free ride, and treat religious speech, and religious business, like all other speech and business.

    As for this law, while Brewer will probably sign it, the 9th Circuit will certainly invalidate it. This is somewhat similar to Colorado’s Amendment 2, which the US Supreme Court struck down in 1996. It permits the groups most likely to discriminate against gay people, to continue to discriminate by merely claiming “sincerely held” (whatever that means) religious cover. As far as I can tell, Arizona only has non-discrimination in its public sector, so this law appears to be aimed directly at them.

  10. RexT says

    Sign it Brewer, help us kick the last of these evil cans down the road and into the gutter forever. Dumb ass Arizona Republicans.

  11. Jeff says

    As I have written before we need to stand up for one another. What is happening in Russia, what is happening in Africa can happen anywhere and this hints that it can happen in the USA as well. No one is safe unless we RISE UP and do it together.

  12. steve talbert says

    It’s absurd, but don’t get complacent. Spain during the moors was the most advanced society in Europe at the time. 1100s to 1400s. First novel, algebra, science, art, architectural. It was multicultural with Jews, Christians, and Islam. After Ferdinand and Isabella, the moors and Jews were forced to convert, or forcibly moved to Portugal then Mexico. And, within two generations there was the inquisition that lasted for 400 years.

  13. David says

    These are the final death throes of the religious bigots in the US. They know they’ve lost the battle against marriage equality. This is pure posturing and will not stand any scrutiny by the courts. I’m so glad that so many Republicans are willing to go on record, making it known exactly how they feel about equal rights. We will bury them.

  14. Joe in Ct says

    Republicans are formidable foes. Do not discount their capability for doing evil in what they think will be of service to their narrow religious beliefs.

  15. ToThePoint says

    Anyway, what gay person with an ounce of dignity would want to have ANY bigot associated with providing services to such important occassions by injecting hate and ill will and ultimately dragging everyone else down?

  16. CB says

    Here is my question….Is this just against gays, or are they allowed to discriminate against ANYONE under the premise of their religious views? For example, as was in Ireland, can Protestants refuse service to Catholics, can Jews refuse service to Muslims, ETC.?

  17. CB says

    Addendum…could a business refuse service to ‘known’ adulterers, such as John McCain, because adultery is against Biblical beliefs? How about war vets? The Bible specifically as one of its Commandments “thou shall not kill”!

  18. fedorajoe says

    It’s astonishing how an abuser, the second he loses his ability abuse, sees himself as the victim, and his crimes against his actual victims are entirely forgotten. It’s the very definition of privilege, and it is disgusting.

  19. JonnyNYNY2FLFL says

    We should boycott those businesses! Oh wait, they’re boycotting us. I guess this is a win-win situation. They don’t want our money & we don’t want them to stay in business.

  20. stu says

    This bill will be overturned by the Supreme Court. There is no way that it will survive.

    Keep in mind that such a bill allows business owners to refuse service to black people based on religious beliefs.

  21. AaronTx says

    Why do we have states in this country and around the world that are trying to behave like Germany in the 30’s? Fear and bigotry sure make people do some funny things.

  22. says

    Priebus is pulling whats left of his hair out right about now. How’s that coded language plan working Reince? Like herding cats trying to get racists and bigots to say religious liberty, family values, and stand your ground.

    How’s November looking Reince? Paying attention Elliott Echols?

  23. Chuck says

    This law will be a gift to progressives in the long run. We should send armies of homos out with recording equipment to avail of services and collect as much evidence of gruesome discrimination as possible. Blow out the legals system, clog the courts with challenges, cripple the system like they planned to do with Joe Arpaio’s racist stop-and-searches.

  24. John says

    “We feel a growing hostility toward religion”. Yeah, and you asshats are the reason why. What goes around…

  25. Jim says

    Don’t be surprised if Brewer vetoes this bill. There’s nothing in it for her. Tonight she’s probably hearing from all sorts of business leaders in the state who know that if this bill becomes law, there will be national boycotts organized against Arizona and endless bad press. It will cost them big bucks and they know it. They don’t want to wallow in the Tea Bagger swill pit. There will be huge pressure on her to veto this bill just as she vetoed a similar bill last year. Republicans may hate gays but they love money, and they don’t want to lose money because of Tea Bagger BS.

  26. MiddleoftheRoader says

    THIS BILL IS DANGEROUS BECAUSE IT DOES NOT TARGET GAYS. The line of court cases that prevent singling out gays for discrimination does not apply here. This bill allows discrimination against unwed mothers, unmarried hetero couples, same-sex couples, single women on birth control, inter-racial couples, etc. IF THE BIGOT CAN CITE TO THE BIBLE OR SOME OTHER RELIGIOUS ‘TENET’, THE DISCRIMINATION WOULD BE ALLOWED.

    FYI, THE ARIZONA BUSINESS COMMUNITY IS MOUNTING A HUGE EFFORT TO GET THE GOVERNOR TO VETO THE BILL. Especially the Arizona Tech Council (which is a fairly conservative business group) just sent out an URGENT email this afternoon to all of its members to press the Governor to veto the bill.


  27. Rob says

    What if my Christian faith believes that Jews are wrongheaded? Can I refuse service to Jews? This is freakin’ ridiculous and will be thrown out in two seconds by any court.

  28. Harris says

    Come on, people. These bills are about hate and power. The Republicans use these bills as raw meat to their bigoted base. Republicans are no different than the African politicians who are passing anti-gay legislation.

    I’m anxious to hear the views of the gay Republicans who always are quick to tell us how wonderful and patriotic they are because their members of the GOP. Please, gay Republicans, tell us again why you aren’t anything other than kapos?

  29. says

    Let’s wait and see what Brewer does. She may not be stupid or brazen enough to go for this. There will be an enormous amount of fallout if this is enacted into law.

    The absolute lunacy of this type legislation is that ‘religion’ & ‘religious beliefs’ are undefined. They’ve never been held to a standard. Opponents of equality have used the excuse of Bible and religion to hold back every group that has faced discrimination since this country was founded. American Indians, blacks, minorities, immigrants, women, Jews, Irish, Asians, Latinos and now homosexuals. It’s a oft repeated pattern.
    Well it ends now.

    The battle has been heading in this direction for a long time. If it is enacted and makes it’s way through the courts that could be a good thing. It’s long overdue. Now that all the excuses offered up have been shown to be faulty (lies) the mask is off and the truth is revealed as the blatant homophobia it’s always been.

  30. SashaSkye says

    Absolutely typical of the lunatics who believe a magical man in the sky controls everything that call themselves “christians”. the bible also clearly states that blacks are to be owned as slaves and women are to be stoned to death if they disagree with a man. Here is a perfect example of people picking and choosing which rules they wish to follow and which ones they don’t think were serious. if you believe that devoutly in god, i’m sure all of you who’ve had sex before marriage have already killed yourselves right?

  31. SoLeftImRight says

    So I guess if I’m a business owner whose religion (or, non-religion) leaves me personally offended by evangelical bigots, I can just freely discriminate against them? Cool!

    Great society we live in. This kind of crap is stupid and not in any way, shape or form an “American” value. It should be shut right down in the courts and anyone moronic enough to try to use this law to discriminate should be widely publicized and boycotted.

  32. ashamed American says

    In the following historical fact, just replace the words (Germany = Arizona) (Jews = LGBTI) I will let you figure out the rest. (Nazi =___)

    Between mid-1933 and the early 1940s, the Nazi regime passed dozens of laws and decrees that eroded the rights of Jews in Germany. Some were seemingly insignificant, such as an April 1935 edict banning Jews from flying the German flag; or a February 1942 order prohibiting Jews from owning pets. But others withdrew the voting rights of Jews, their access to education, their capacity to own businesses or to hold particular jobs. In 1934 Jews were banned from sitting university exams; in 1936 they were forbidden from using parks or public swimming pools and from owning electrical equipment, typewriters or bicycles. Jews were also subject to cultural and artistic restrictions, forcing hundreds to leave jobs in the theatre, cinema, cabaret and the visual arts.

    Remember it starts somewhere and today it looks like Arizona is starting it. Where will it stop? How much will it cost us to stop it?

    Thanks for your time

  33. says

    Looking at that House committee member holding up that NO GAYS ALLOWED sign reminds me of the old black and white photos from the early sixties signs on southern store fronts that say NO NEGROES ALLOWED. Actually, what the difference?

  34. JackFknTwist says

    Every time !
    history repeating itself ……because of uneducated morons.
    The Mormons did not allow blacks to become Mormons originally; would Mormons or some other quasi religious cult be allowed to refuse blacks service on the grounds of religious belief ?

    What about unmarried mothers ? with children ‘out of wedlock’….could they be refused service ?
    Religion of every kind is toxic; I hate to see some gays cling to god and church as a last comforter in their pathetic lives.
    We need a “Pink Posse” to deal with anyone who refuses us service.

  35. Michaelandfred says

    This is just patently absurd, the ramifications of such a law would be almost endless. The list of “sinners” in the bible encapsulates almost every single American in one form or another. The bright side is that with so many states attempting this simply because of “the gays,” it proves the heightened scrutiny argument while trashing the GOP argument that we have political power.

    Maybe they should ask the Mormons what overreaching accomplishes.

  36. tristram says

    Haha. A ‘growing hostility towards religion’. The IRONY.

    These right wing groups think that gay rights groups ‘complain’ too much. That we put our bedroom business in their face.

    It’s the exact opposite.

    We just want the same rights as any other person walking down the street. It’s now clear that they want SPECIAL RIGHTS, over and above everyone else.

    Who are the entitled whingers again?

  37. Chrislam says

    The religious right can keep passing their legislation to legislate their religion but I will never support bigotry and hatred.

  38. crazycorgi says

    I do hope that these laws are immediately challenged in the courts the minute that they are signed into law and not allowed to ruin lives for 10 years like the marriage bans. Arizona is not the only state where these Jim Crow laws are being considered, nor will it stop there if we allow them to exist.

  39. TheSeer says

    “We see a growing hostility toward religion,” said Josh Kredit, legal counsel for the group.

    You will see it even more after these kind of bills.

  40. Daniel says

    wait… denying MEDICAL SERVICE? They would allow someone to be left to die in front of a hospital? This is insane anywhere, but especially insane in the US.

  41. says

    Thank goodness somebody was willing to preserve and protect the Sanctity of Bigotry. When a Christian hates a homo its like going to church, Jesus gets all giggles and laughs when Christians are intolerant.

    If there was one thing Jesus wanted his Christians to learn it was how to be flaming assholes.

  42. says

    The Center for Arizona Policy, a fundamentalist Christian “non-profit” wrote the law. The woman who runs the group, Cathi Herrod, is batshit crazy (God speaks directly to her, she says). The group even tried to stop the City of Tucson from offering joint library cards to same sex couples.

  43. Art says

    The article says
    “”We see a growing hostility toward religion,” said Josh Kredit, legal counsel for the group.”

    Of course you do when “religion” has become the Romans and Gays have become the real Christians! When attacked by a lion (religion), one must get the gun out to protect one’s self.

  44. BETTY says

    I always love the “acitivist courts” line. Why is it only an activist court when the court rules they are wrong or out of touch. If the court sided with them it is okay! Why is it when they try to push their agenda through the courts, it isn’t an “activist court”?

  45. Michael Fitzgerald says

    The pure party-line vote in both the Arizona House and the Arizona Senate portrays the Republican Party for what it really is: the party of hate and discrimination, not only discrimination against gays, but also discrimination against women and all minorities. The passage of this bill also displays the fact that the so-called “Christian religion” as practiced by the fundamentalist right in the United States has nothing to do with the teachings of Jesus. Go ahead and sign the bill, governor. Then, kiss goodbye what will then become your futile attemps to woo Google and Apple to Jim Crow Arizona!

  46. Thomas Chuvala says

    This is a clear violation of human rights, WTF are we Russians? What is next, since I am Buddhist, you can refuse service to me because your religious says you can. Laws are meant to be over religions for just this reason. After all Jesus told his followers to give onto Caesar what is Caesar’s, meaning taxes and following the laws of the land.

  47. get with the times says

    I hope a gay establishment refuses to serve heterosexuals. Some people are so ignorant.