The Arizona Senate on Wednesday
approved a bill which opponents say would allow businesses and
individuals to discriminate against gays.
Senators approved the Religious Freedom
Restoration Act (SB 1062) in a party-line vote with 17 Republicans in
favor and 13 Democrats opposed.
The measure would prohibit the state
from taking actions against a person, defined as “any individual,
association, partnership, corporation, church, estate, trust,
foundation or other legal entity,” who refuses services based on
their religious beliefs.
The House could take up a companion
bill as early as Thursday.
Senate Democratic Leader Anna Tovar
said that her caucus opposes the bill because it “permits
discrimination under the guise of religious freedom.”
“With the express consent of
Republicans in the 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,” Tovar added in a statement.
Republicans drop bill aimed at allowing businesses to discriminate