An estimated 300 people rallied Friday
in Phoenix against passage of a bill which they say would allow
businesses and individuals to discriminate against gays.
The bill, known as SB 1062, cleared the
Senate on Wednesday and the
House of Representatives on Thursday. Calling the measure
“controversial,” Republican Governor Jan Brewer said she will
decide whether to sign the bill next week.
Holding banners which read “Legalize
Love, Not Hate” and “Veto 1062” the demonstrators sprawled out
on the lawn of the state capitol chanting “veto.”
The measure seeks to 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.
Appearing on CNN Newsroom, House
Minority Leader Chad Campbell, a Democrat, stated that the bill was a
response to laws passed in Phoenix, Tucson and Flagstaff which
prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender
“Let there be no doubt about what
this bill does. It's going to allow people to discriminate against
the gay community in Arizona,” Campbell
said. “It goes after unprotected classes of people. And we
all know that the biggest unprotected class of people in this state
is the LGBT community. And the supporters of this bill, the
Republicans on the floor, admitted as much yesterday.”
“We have cities that have protected
status for the LGBT community and that is the problem. That's what
most people outside of Arizona don't realize.”
This bill “is a direct attack on the
cities that are trying to protect their citizens,” Campbell added.