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Arizona considers letting businesses refuse to serve gays

February 22, 2014 - Andrea Johnson
The Arizona legislature has just passed a bill that would make it legal for business owners to refuse service to a customer on religious grounds. The bill now goes to Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, who vetoed similar legislation last year. The Greater Phoenix Economic Council is asking her to veto this bill too, as its passage could have a negative impact on the state's economy.

This bill is in direct response to the gay marriage bills that have been passed across the country. Though Arizona has a statutory ban against gay marriage, it's not hard for legislators to see the writing on the wall. Sooner rather than later, the U.S. Supreme Court will likely declare bans against gay marriage unconstitutional, as district courts in various states already have.

The larger and thornier question that legislators will need to answer in coming years is how to balance the rights of religious people who object to gay marriage against the rights of gay couples. The Arizona bill was also likely inspired by a 2013 New Mexico court ruling that a wedding photographer there violated the state's anti-discrimination laws by refusing to take photos at the commitment ceremony of a lesbian couple.

The problem with a law like Arizona's is that it would seem to violate various federal laws that require any business that provides a service to the public to serve everyone. A pharmacist can't refuse to fill a birth control prescription for an unmarried woman. A restaurant can't refuse to serve an interracial couple. Why exactly should Arizona business owners get away with refusing to serve a lesbian or gay couple? The answer is that they probably can't and, I would say, probably shouldn't. There's a clear difference between a church or synagogue or mosque, which cannot be required to marry a gay couple or allow gay couples to be members, and a religious individual or religiously affiliated organization that serves members of the general public. If Brewer signs this bill into law, it will probably be challenged in court and overturned, as it should be.


Article Comments



Mar-06-14 4:32 PM

So if I am a black family that owns a bakery and I refuse to make a cake for some guy that came in wearing his white robes? Not a lot of difference is there.


Mar-02-14 10:17 AM

I think the point is ....that when we ALL get converted to the Religion of BigGovernment, then, and only then, can we move forword as a country...


Feb-28-14 7:34 PM

Yeah, there's pagan origins for most Christmas and Easter traditions too. What was your point?


Feb-28-14 11:19 AM

Luckily, Arizona's governor has wisely vetoed this misguided legislation.


Feb-28-14 9:27 AM

It seems a bit strange to me for someone making wedding cakes with all the pagan symbolisms and origins, to refuse to make the pagan symbol for someone due to some supposedly strongly held christian belief.


Feb-27-14 11:35 PM

I think your safe slide.No gay in their right mind would spend one second with you.On second thought,no one would.Goinpeace


Feb-27-14 8:40 AM

These "Incidents" were just another way for the Gays to get some attention and to FORCE their way of life on Normal people.. It won't be long.(maybe 25 years) until they will be married to their dog and you will be forced to bake wedding cakes and take phots of their weddings..

Those strange space alien people in movies you see are probably just a glimpse of the "things" yet to come from crossing dogs and other animals with humans and designer DNA babies..

Jan turned it down so its another victory for the "deranged" people.

I was some what supportive of gays till the demanded marriage rights..then I decided they really are que... eer.

Feb-26-14 7:50 AM

There a number of legitimate reasons for a restaurant to refuse service, some of which include:

Patrons who are unreasonably rowdy or causing trouble Patrons that may overfill capacity if let in Patrons who come in just before closing time or when the kitchen is closed Patrons accompanied by large groups of non-customers looking to sit in Patrons lacking adequate hygiene (e.g. excess dirt, extreme body odor, etc.)

In most cases, refusal of service is warranted where a customer’s presence in the restaurant detracts from the safety, welfare, and well-being of other patrons and the restaurant itself.


Feb-25-14 11:26 PM

Jan will turn it down.. so not to worry.. Gays will pick their battles and file their lawsuits just to keep themselves in the news headlines.. Its their way.. No respect for other people...It all about them FORCING themselves on to others.. Guess they relate to Obama FORCING himself into peoples private lives and destroying their healthcare..

Its a liberal, gay, controlling thing..


Feb-25-14 10:30 AM

"Yes businesses can refuse to serve someone who walks in with no shirt or shoes. That's refusal of service on the basis of BEHAVIOR."

And what it is to be gay is based on a behavior. There's no way to determine that somebody is gay unless he/she chooses to act upon it in some fashion.


Feb-25-14 9:54 AM

Jeez, people, you're getting way too bent out of shape. I would shudder to think what life would be like if everyone guilty of every other sin were treated in similar manner.

Call out sin for what it is all you like, but take care not to get so high and mighty about it that you let pride get the better of you. I think one of the biggest mistakes many conservative Christians have made is acting like this is so much worse than any other sin.


Feb-25-14 9:09 AM

How long before we get back to the era of the 1700's when shoes were made with straight lasts and had no left or right.

These shoes I understand were just straight with no bend either direction.. The complaints were they rubbed the feet in many places..made sores, created medical problems..ect..You could wear them on either foot..

Sorta like our society now.. There are no right or left Everyone must conform and go right to the middle.. Even if it rubs you the wrong way the straights are back..


Feb-25-14 9:02 AM

So can the state fair ban gays from their fairs? If they desired.. using their laws and rules they refer to?

Radical immigration stance.. I wish everyone was FORCED to live next to the boarder for just one week..then see how you like these "radicals" going thru your property..

I just bet BD IF you owned a yard you would not like transits using your place as a pathway to the next street over would you.

You folks talk the big talk and condemm but 99% of you have never left your state and have no clue what goes on in other worlds..


Feb-25-14 8:45 AM

and some say, 'heckofa job Nagan...'


Feb-25-14 7:33 AM

"Hankla wrote that the North Dakota State Fair is the owner of the property and generally the owner of property has the right to exclude others from its property."

Took this little gem from a different article, it looks like rights can also be wrongs.

Feb-24-14 9:53 PM

All I can say is, heckuva job Brownie.


Feb-24-14 7:58 PM

Bird,Can you please tell everyone in NORTH DAKOTA to stop speaking like daks.Its very annoying. Uffdah by golly.If you dont get my point,I will spell it out for you.Goinpeace


Feb-24-14 7:53 PM

I just love it.NO MORE SUPERBOWL GAMES, NO MORE ALLSTAR GAMES,NO MORE ON A LOT OF THINGS.Go for it ARIZONA,Cant wait for you to try to slime out of this one.Goinpeace.


Feb-24-14 6:33 PM

well most gays arent gay they are just looking for attention, and the way society acts anymore this action is incouraged and it does no good for confused people,


Feb-24-14 5:19 PM

Wow. This post really drew in the closed minded, didn't it? Refusing service to someone because they are gay is much the same as refusing service to someone because of the color of their skin. But I have an idea that many of you would also think that is alright. I agree with you, Andrea. I believe the law is unconstitutional but it doesn't surprise me considering Arizona's radical immigration stance. And, *******, I don't particularly like hearing about most sports, the vulgar language many people use with abandon, or what "Susie" did with her boyfriend last night. Move on and mind your own business.


Feb-24-14 4:38 PM

now, this is just gay...


Feb-24-14 3:30 PM

Um, don't we already have this thing called the "right to freely associate" with whomever we wish? That also means we are free not to associate with whomever we wish...


Feb-24-14 3:15 PM

well it is no different then when i have to listen to how gay sombody is i doent care and i doent want to hear about it, so if they have the right to talk about it in public i should have the right to not hear if there was a sign that said no gays i would go in there just to get away from them


Feb-24-14 1:24 PM

Again, that's BEHAVIOR. A bar owner should refuse service to a drunk and/or unruly customer. He is within his rights to do so. He should not be allowed to refuse service to someone on the basis of them looking like a gay or a lesbian, assuming that that person isn't behaving in a way that would get anyone else kicked out of the bar.


Feb-24-14 12:11 PM

then we have the bars.. They are SUPPOSE to refuse service to people with too much to they have the rights.. but others cannot have the same rights depending on what product they sell?

Or should they all get a bar license and then refuse them service on the grounds that they looked intoxicated..

Its just a visual ya know.. no test.. just your best guess..

Just like "gay" is a visual test.. no proof of gay just the persons say so??

Some laws for some.. some laws for others.. but some people want to be held above the law..


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