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Updated Feb 21, 2014 - 6:17 pm

Final Word: Service refusal bill is Stand Your Ground for bigots

It’s advancing, just like you knew it would; the bill from Chandler Legislator Steve Yarbrough.

It’s called the Right to Refuse Service bill. Sounds like a real empowering thing, doesn’t it?

I remember vividly walking into the True Value Hardware store in my hometown. It was the 1970s and sometimes I got to go in with Dad.

It was right there on Robin Hood street. It smelled like gasoline and gumballs, which was oddly a fantastic combination.

The guys that ran that store were awesome. They always remembered your name and they asked you about how you liked that new set of wiper blades or screen door.

In the window of that store was a sign. I remember reading it.

It said “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.”

I assumed that meant that if a customer was abusive, the clerk could ask him to leave. Those were polite times, weren’t they?

I never saw anyone refused service but it was nice to know that there was a sign in the window, informing that potentially impolite guy who DIDN’T like his new screen door, ‘We reserve the right to not deal with you.”

Here in Arizona, in 2014, it’s a different world and we have a law passed by the Legislature that it’s authors want you to think is essentially the same thing.

It’s called the Right to Refuse Service bill. I call it Stand Your Ground For Bigots.

It’s an affirmative-defense type law, like Stand Your Ground in Florida, which allows someone to refuse service to gays and lesbians, and other groups, as long as your discrimination was based in sincerely-held religious beliefs.

Too bad they don’t have to be fair, just, and loving. Just sincere.

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