We asked Southern Arizona lawmakers and candidates for governor for their thoughts on SB 1062, legislation that would allow businesses to discriminate against customers based on religious belief. Gov. Jan Brewer must decide whether to sign it, let it become law without her signature, or veto it.
Sen. Andrea Dalessandro (D- Legislative District 2): “Each day in the Senate we recite the Pledge of Allegiance. I am saddened that the words LIBERTY and JUSTICE for ALL have little meaning to some. This morning, I am uplifted by kind words of support from many and just a very few notes from the misinformed.” (Facebook)
Sen. Olivia Cajero Bedford (D-LD 3): “I hope governor does veto it. It’s a morally wrong bill, and I think it would expand to include discrimination of nationalities, what clothing people are wearing, what country they might represent. It would just get worse.”
Sen. Steve Farley (D-LD 9): “It wasn’t just my priest who was preaching against SB1062 on Sunday. Part of why Jesus has endured is his concept of radical inclusivity — you don’t turn anyone away from the table. I see this legislative majority operating out of fear. If we were spending time moving forward with love into this century, instead of looking backward with fear, we’d have people flocking to our state.”
Sen. David Bradley (D-LD 10): “I don’t think they (Republican lawmakers) anticipated this response. It’s not just that the bus community is up in arms, from the get-go the bill had a lot of moral problems with it, and as much as they tried to justify it and stand on their heads and try to explain it, it’s wrong. I’m grateful we’re getting this response and hopeful the governor will do the right thing.”
Sen. Al Melvin (R-LD 11, running for governor): “I voted for SB1062 because I believe in liberty and this bill protects the rights of every Arizonan to work and live according to their faith. It prohibits punishing someone because of their faith. Our anti-discrimination laws remain in place and in force, but you should not be able to force a Jewish deli owner into catering a neo-Nazi party or a pro-life caterer to cater Planned Parenthood’s annual gala.”
Sen. Gail Griffin (R-LD 14) voted for SB 1062, did not respond to requests for comment or post a statement on social media.
Rep. Demion Clinco (D-LD 2): “As the only representative of the LGBTQ community at the State House, I have to express my complete disappointment in those who supported this bill. It is both discouraging and appalling to see state-sanctioned discrimination being promoted under the veil of religious freedom. I began serving in this chamber less than a month ago, and already I am seeing the dramatic lengths the extremists here will go to push an agenda.”
Rep. Rosanna Gabaldón (D-LD 2): “Discrimination in any form is unacceptable. It opens the gate for not only being discriminatory but to deny services to the LGBTQ community and perhaps other groups of individuals as well. It’s going to hurt Arizona in the long run and my hope is that Gov. Brewer vetoes it.”
Rep. Macario Saldate (D-LD 3): “There’s so much we should be doing to improve our state. This does nothing to create jobs or improve education; it promotes extremism and is unnecessary. It’s not the kind of thing the public wants us to do. I’ve gotten so many calls from constituents and it’s not necessarily coming from any particular group. This is not the right thing to do to anyone.”
Rep. Ethan Orr: (R-LD 9): “I think the bill inadvertently created the potential to be abused by bad actors, and while I don’t question the integrity or the motives of the people that ran the bill, I do believe there were a number of unintended consequences that could open up a Pandora’s box allowing people to discriminate against others.”
Rep. Victoria Steele (D-LD 9): “It’s going to hurt people; it’s going to hurt our economy and it’s a further embarrassment for our state. It puts Arizona in the spotlight of being discriminatory and extreme. It takes aim at civil-rights laws passed in Tucson and has created an open season on the LGBTQ community that has people frightened. It’s disgusting that there’s any question that Gov. Brewer should veto this.”
Rep. Stefanie Mach (D-LD 10): “SB 1062 is another example of the damaging legislation that is pushed by Cathi Herrod and her powerful lobbying group, Center For Arizona Policy. I hope that Gov. Brewer listens to the diversity of people against this bill including: Republicans, Democrats, the business community, tourists, the LGBTQ community, the faith-based organizations and many others who are telling her to veto SB 1062.”
Rep. Bruce Wheeler (D- LD10): “It’s terrible because it would codify discrimination against a group of citizens. Businesses now have the right to refuse service based on a number of reasons such as attire, but a business cannot refuse service to someone based on race, gender or sexual orientation. That’s what makes this punitive, destructive and very harmful. Harmful to the people it’s targeting and harmful to the economy. Arizona again will get a bad national reputation.”
Rep. Adam Kwasman (R-LD 11) and Reps. David Gowan and David W. Stevens (R-LD 14) voted for SB 1062, did not respond to requests for comment or post statements on social media.
Candidates for governor
Ken Bennett (R): “SB 1062 is an unnecessary measure to protect a God-given right already assured by the Constitution. I strongly support religious freedom, but divisive measures such as these distract us from the most important challenges facing Arizona — jobs and economic development.”
Doug Ducey (R): “The religious liberty issues that SB 1062 attempts to address are legitimate ones, and I believe there is a way to draft language that would address the concerns of everyone involved and avoid the acrimony and notoriety that have accompanied this bill’s passage. I would veto SB 1062, but would then bring together all the interested parties before this legislative session adjourns to forge consensus on acceptable language protecting religious liberty.”
Fred DuVal (D): “If I were governor, I wouldn’t have waited for this bill to get to my desk. I would have stopped it before it passed. I would have made it very clear to the legislature that they shouldn’t bother sending me this legislation. This bill won’t solve any of the problems facing Arizona families; it won’t create jobs or improve education. In fact, it will be a job killer. It’s going to hurt our businesses and hurt our state’s reputation across the country — it’s just plain wrong.”
Christine Jones (R): “I support protecting the First Amendment and believe that government must not dictate to private business owners or professionals that they must violate their long-held religious convictions. To the extent SB 1062 strives to affirm that fundamental truth, I agree. SB 1062 will simply be used to caricature our state and hurt our economic growth and should, for that reason, be withdrawn.”
Scott Smith (R): “As a Christian conservative, I am very troubled that religious rights are being trampled as part of the current debate on changes in our society. But, I am also a member of a church that has experienced severe persecution because of its beliefs. I firmly believe that discrimination or bigotry in any form is unacceptable. I am concerned that SB1062 carries the real potential for unintended legal consequences that could negatively impact our most basic rights, including the freedom of religion.”
Andrew Thomas (R): “I support Senate Bill 1062 and urge Gov. Brewer to sign it.” (Facebook)