PHOENIX – By a final vote of 17-13, the Arizona State Senate this week passed Senate Bill 1062, which would allow anyone in Arizona to refuse service to anyone else if doing so would offend their religious beliefs. Officially intended to expand religious freedom, backers acknowledged that the bill’s only real purpose was to make it legal to hate gay people.
“The people of Arizona can rest easy knowing that their State Senate is doing all it can to ensure Arizonans are free to hate gays as much as they wish,” said Republican Sen. Steve Yarbrough, one of the bill’s sponsors. “Whether it’s two gay men or a couple of lesbians or one of those transgender freaks, just say God disapproves and you can treat them like dirt all you want.”
The bill is expected to easily pass the Republican-controlled House and reach Governor Jan Brewer’s desk. The Governor vetoed a nearly identical bill last year, but is expected to sign this version.
“I’m pleased that the legislature is giving me a second chance to protect our citizens’ right to demean homosexuals,” said Brewer in a statement. “I honestly can’t remember why I turned the opportunity down the first time. I must have been confused.”
Senate Democrats quickly denounced the bill. “SB 1062 permits discrimination under the guise of religious freedom,” said Senate Democratic Leader Anna Tovar. “With the express consent of Republicans in this Legislature, many Arizonans will find themselves members of a separate and unequal class under this law because of their sexual orientation. This bill may also open the door to discriminate based on race, familial status, religion, sex, national origin, age or disability.”
Yarbrough laughed off Tovar’s concerns. “She’s just being hysterical,” he said. “Nobody’s going to use this for anything other than gay-bashing.”