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.”