Arizona’s Senate has voted 17-13 to approve a bill allowing businesses to refuse service to gays based on religious beliefs.

The 17-13 vote along party lines, with Republicans in the majority, came after supporters defeated an attempt to extend existing employment laws that bar discrimination based on religion and race to also include sexual orientation. Sen. Steve Yarbrough (pictured), R-Chandler, said that’s a separate issue from what he is trying to do.

But Sen. Steve Gallardo, D-Phoenix, said that’s precisely the issue.

“The bill opens the door for discrimination against gays and lesbians,” he said.

Yarbrough, however, said foes of SB 1062 are twisting what his legislation says.

“This bill is not about discrimination,” he said. “It’s about preventing discrimination against people who are clearly living out their faith.”

Over the last couple of years, as same sex couples have been given the right to marry, Christian business (and some non-Christian) owners are disturbed at the fact that they have to provide same sex couples services that they provide to heterosexual customers. There have been several reports of business owners refusing to bake cakes, allow same sex couples to patronize their bed and breakfasts, as well as refusing to provide floral services.Some have refused these services under the guise of their “conscience” not allowing them to.

According to the bill, “SB 1062 would allow businesses sued in a civil case to claim they have a legal right to not provide service to an individual or group because it would “substantially burden’’ their freedom of religion.”

Read the text of the bill here.

The House is set to vote on a matching bill imminently.

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  • I thought that all businesses had the right to refuse the service of anyone at any time for any reason? I believe that every business owner should have this right and I don’t think it is fair for government to intervene in this right.

    But think about it: why would you want to give your money, your main means of power in a capitalist society, to someone who does not support your beliefs? More businesses need to publicize what they are for and/or against. Don’t like Black people? PUT THAT ON YOUR FRONT DOOR. Don’t like gays? PUT THAT ON YOUR WEBSITE. Think women are inferior to men? PUT THAT IN YOUR COMMERCIAL. Hold businesses accountable. They want to be corporate citizens, treat them that way. And when they don’t want to support the things that are important to you, don’t give them your business. Use your money to empower those who support your beliefs.

    • Aria08

      “But what it pretty much comes down to is if a business chooses not to serve gays or any other group of people for whatever reason and you don’t like it then don’t go there.”

      Seriously? Can you imagine if those who fought tooth and nail for the end of Jim Crow thought that way? So, instead of fighting discrimination…Blacks should have just shut up and “not gone there?”

      Movie theater doesn’t serve Blacks…just shut up and don’t go there.

      Prestigious University not admitting Blacks that worked for and deserve it? Well, just bow your head and don’t go there…

      Lunch counter snubbing you? Sorry Greensboro Four…you guys should have just “shut up and not gone there”…end of story.

      You don’t fight discrimination by doing nothing. You raise hell. You put a spotlight on it…even if boycotting..you let folks know WHY.

      What has happened to us that we are NOW willing to passively let injustice ( of ANY kind) be promoted?

    • Aria08

      “I thought that all businesses had the right to refuse the service of anyone at any time for any reason”


      “The Federal Civil Rights Act guarantees all people the right to “full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation, without discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin.”

      If the patron is in what is called a “Protected Class” you cannot discriminate in the public domain against providing the same service provided to those not in protected class. That is why it is illegal for Best Buy to put up a “No Blacks Allowed” sign. They would NOT be able to do as you state, and refuse service for ANY reason. Furthermore, when they DO refuse service to someone not in the protected classes, it HAS to based on whether the business’s refusal of service was arbitrary, or whether the business had a specific interest in refusing service.

      “I don’t think it is fair for government to intervene in this right.”

      Well bless your heart…especially if you are Black. The government intervened in Jim Crow laws here in the South by passing the Federal Civil Rights Act, which outlawed them across the board. So sad you would have been against them doing so and allowing Blacks to stay at the back of the bus and locked out of most businesses…b/c of those racist business owners “rights”.


    • Aria08

      **This comment meant for Nicole, not imablackpoem**

  • Nicole

    Yes this is terrible. But what it pretty much comes down to is if a business chooses not to serve gays or any other group of people for whatever reason and you don’t like it then don’t go there. End of story.

  • Marine


    I’m am very sympathetic to gays struggles… BUT let’s not compare homosexuals struggles to blacks. You can’t look at someone and see that their gay but you can defiantly look at me and see I’m black.
    Yes IF YOU DONT LIKE IT DONT GO THERE. Go to the next restaurant. It’s not like anyone is out here lynching gays and bombing their homes. It’s 2014 people are more accepting and I’m sure for every restaurant that’s not welcoming gays due to their religion there’s 10 that will.

    It seems like these days if your not down with the gay rights movement everyone’s mad at you.

    • Aria08


      Your post is very sad. People aren’t bombing gay’s homes…so it is ok for legal discrimination to passed?

      Seriously? It is not about “being down” for any movement…it is about BASIC DECENCY…and treating all citizens as WE expect to be treated..no matter our sexuality.

      Where did we lose THAT basic premise and value?

  • Reason

    Careful now, everyone. “If you don’t like it, don’t go there” was told to black people, too. On the other hand, in that time when there was nothing for us, so that wasn’t even an option. Different now.

    • Aria08

      No, it is not “different”. In the 50’s and 60’s…we HAD other places to go…and Blacks did patronize those Black-owned establishments…but they ALSO fought the racist ones! I am from North Carolina…and Blacks, even in the small towns, did not usually have “nothing”. There WAS a Black mechanic, a Black church, theater, grocer, colleges etc…please dont’ think they fought because they had NO choice. There WERE choices. They just took a higher road than many of their descendants are willing to do today. That is called courage.

      We, as a people, have lost our fire. We are now a “well, it doesn’t affect me so I don ‘t care” community.

      That is pathetic and disappointing on so many levels.