Arizona Senate OKs bill boosting service refusal

Arizona Senate OKs bill boosting service refusal

The Arizona Senate on Wednesday passed a bill backed by Republicans that would expand the rights of people to assert their religious beliefs in refusing service to gays and others, a measure Democrats say would open the doors for discrimination and hurt the state economy.

Democrats and civil-rights groups opposed the bill pushed by social conservatives, saying it would allow discriminatory actions by businesses.

But the sponsor, Sen. Steve Yarbrough of Chandler, said his push for Senate Bill 1062 was prompted by a New Mexico case in which the state Supreme Court allowed a gay couple to sue a photographer who refused to take pictures of their wedding. He said he is protecting religious rights.

I want legislation like this to have some sort of provision that says that businesses that would deny certain services to certain people should have to post some sort of signage declaring it.

The problem that I see with this is people who say “I am a member of the Holy Church of Discrimination and Bigotry, and we believe that all people of certain races and ethnicities are spawn of the devil, so I won’t allow them to eat in my restaurant, ride in my cab, or shop in my store.”

But why on earth would you want to have someone who doesn’t want to take your wedding pictures, make your wedding bouquet or play music at your wedding?

How broad a bill is this? A wedding vendor denying service to a same sex wedding is one thing. That can make a person feel like they are actively supporting and participating in a specific act that violates their faith.

But should grocery store owners (or dentists or mechanics, etc.) be denying service to gay people? That just seems like an all around bad road to go down. I certainly wouldn’t want to walk into a grocery store (or dentist office or mechanic) and have the LGBT store manager ask me to leave because I’m a Christian.

The USCCB gives some good examples under religious freedom:

I would happily take my business elsewhere if a homosexualist doesn’t want it. I would also do them the favor of not suing them into the ground for discrimination. However, it’s apples and oranges. Homosexuality is a sinful activity while Christianity is a protected religious belief. One can be just, while the other is unjust discrimination.

For what purpose?

But should grocery store owners (or dentists or mechanics, etc.) be denying service to gay people? That just seems like an all around bad road to go down. I certainly wouldn’t want to walk into a grocery store (or dentist office or mechanic) and have the LGBT store manager ask me to leave because I’m a Christian.

But once you start regulating that, it’s an avalanche of government control.

Have more faith in the free market.

A business that discriminates for frivilous reasons won’t be in business for very long.

When I was living in Scotland, there was a pub that didn’t like to serve Americans. They went of out of business, whereas the bar that catered to the American students seemed to be thriving.

People are too wrapped up in their own selfish political correctness these days.

Ummm I don’t get this bill. The KS bill was straight up discrimination and awful (and immoral). This bill, on the flip side, has NO purpose. It says that religious people have the right to sue the government. Well…congratulations? We already have the right to sue the government under First Amendment protections. Way to pass a law that will hurt economic viability in AZ and make them seem anti-gay while doing absolutely nothing whatsoever for religious rights.

Mostly so that people who would be denied service know up front and don’t waste any time, but also because I’d want to spend my money elsewhere.

Signage like, oh, I don’t know, “We Reserve the Right to Refuse Service to Anyone”?

I haven’t heard anything about anyone advancing a bill that would give businesses the right to carte blanche refuse service to anyone for any reason. It’s always been allowing certain kinds of people to refuse service to certain kinds of people for certain reasons.

Yes, because the fact of the law is that it is unlawful (and unjust) to discriminate against people of certain protected classes. The issues at hand are twofold. Firstly, do homosexuals deserve to be in a protected class, and secondly, can an activity such as a homosexual “marriage” be separated from the identity of the persons holding it? i.e. is it still unjust discrimination against a type of person if I refuse to cooperate in a type of sinful activity?

Businesses still have plenty of rights to refuse service to people in a wide variety of cases. The question is whether the conscience of the business owner can be protected or if an individual’s right to a service overrides religious freedom.

I would hope that no orthodox Catholic would disagree with your right to not partake in a same-sex wedding, whether as a guest or as a businessperson. But the Kansas bill allowed you to deny any service in any business to any two people you felt were in a SS relationship. Do you consider that just? This Arizona bill allows you to sue the government if you feel a law impedes your First Amendment rights, which I didn’t realize we needed a law to support. Do you think this law is needed?

Why are there no laws being brought up that actually do what people claim they want to do? :shrug:

To make a point via an expensive lawsuit against such a business/person…

I like the way you’re approaching this.

I do think that sexual orientation should be a protected class. However, I am sensitive to issues involving religious freedom, so I do get a bit torn about things like this. If a business owner refuses service to someone on religious grounds, I will probably think that what the owner is doing is wrong, but I do bristle at the idea of them being legally required to do it, at least within limits. If we’re talking about a florist providing flowers to a wedding, that’s not a big deal, but then there are more essential things like food or housing to consider.

I also think that if a business owner’s religious conscience is what’s at stake, these sorts of laws that would allow them to deny services should extend to other protected classes as well. There are people who (mistakenly, I think) believe that their religion forbids mixing races. What about their religious conscience? Please understand that I’m not saying that homosexuality and race are the same kind of thing, and I am not intending to draw a direct comparison between the two beyond the fact that in some places they are both protected classes, and that certain interpretations of certain religions would say that mixed race marriage are sinful just as a religion might say that same-sex marriage is sinful. I don’t see any reason that the law should allow refusal of service in one case but forbid it in the other if what is at stake in both cases is the business owner’s religious conscience.

Historically, some signs said, “We cater to white trade only.” So I guess the new signs should say, “We cater to heterosexual trade only.”

Edited to add: However, the proposed hostile amendment to the bill to require such a sign was voted down.

Personally, I think the fact that a law like this needs to be passed is ridiculous. I think any business owner should allowed to deny service to anyone for any reason. The key exceptions to this would be for the life necessities of food, clothing and shelter. Beyond those few necessities, however, any service-oriented industry should be able to turn down anyone they want. If it’s for racial hatred or bigotry then that’s on the conscience of the person doing the turning down, and they’ll lose or gain business for it depending on the clientele they cater to. Similarly, if it’s for religious grounds, then the person should be able to do as they see fit, they will lose or gain business for it as well. The beauty of living in a capitalist, consumer-driven market is that there are always alternatives. If one person isn’t willing to serve you, someone else will.

Again, I’d like to state that this should not extend to the necessities of food, clothing and shelter. Catering, Photography, cake making, and any of the other industries in which people have been sued for not catering to homosexuals are not necessities, and it should be up to the business owner to decide whom they would like to serve. Government needs to get its grubby paws out of business.

So you think the Civil Rights Act should be repealed and that places of public accommodation should be allowed to discriminate?

I have no words to say how offensive I find that.

Let me ask you this, why do you find it offensive? I’m not talking about public facilities, like schools or libraries, courts, etc; I’m talking about private businesses.

Do I think that discrimination against anyone one the grounds of race is abhorrent? Of course, and I wouldn’t frequent any business which does so. That’s the point, allow the free market to make its decision. If a racist shop owner has enough clientele to support his business, then so be it. If not, he will go out of business. I’m sorry you find it offensive, but I’m not going to change my stance on account of that.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit