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Center for Arizona Policy speaks on 'misinformation' about SB 1062

PHOENIX -- The group that helped to draft Arizona's SB 1062, which is being called the "Right to Refuse Service Bill," says it wants to dispel some myths that are being spread about the legislation.

The bill was drafted after a New Mexico photographer was sued when she refused to photograph a same-sex wedding.

"The same-sex couple was trying to use the force of government to require Elaine Photography to use her artistic expression, her free speech, to celebrate a same-sex wedding -- something that she had religious beliefs about," said Aaron Baer of the Center for Arizona Policy.

Baer talked about the bill Saturday during an appearance on News/Talk 92.3 KTAR's "Arizona's Morning News Weekend" with Bob McClay and Becky Lynn.

When asked if SB 1062 is an "anti-gay" bill, Baer responded, "Absolutely not."

But opponents fear that if the bill becomes law, companies could discriminate by refusing service to gay people, African-Americans or anyone they want. Baer said that's not going to happen.

"If we would have seen any of these crazy hypothetical things happening, we would have seen them happen already," Baer said. "This law has been on the federal books since 1993, and in Arizona since 1999. If these things would happen, or could happen, they would be happening. But they're not!"

Baer said that the legislation is needed because judges around the country are ignoring the current law and persecuting people of faith.

Opponents also say that passing the bill will mean another "black eye" for Arizona's public relations.

"The reality is that if Arizona has a public relations problem or anything because of this bill, it's not because of what the bill actually does. It's not because of the supporters of the bill," Baer said. "It's because of the lies and the misinformation put out about the bill from the bill's opponents."

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I am married to my wife Rene', who is a librarian in the Washington school district. During free time, I may be found playing basketball in the driveway with my son, Devin. He's also keeping me busy with school, Little League, and playing in chess tournaments around the Valley.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: Doug Oldham gospel concert in the 1970s at the old East High School in Phoenix.

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Northern Hills Community Church in Phoenix. We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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