Arizona bill would provide a “license to discriminate”

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Representative Steve Yarbrough of Arizona has proposed a bill that, if passed, would provide individuals and corporations a “license to discriminate” against the gay and lesbian community—or anyone, for that matter—under the motivation of religious beliefs.

Yarbrough pointed out that the bill, which has been proposed in the past, wouldn’t just permit LGBT discrimination but would allow for religion to protect the individual to discriminate against anyone on the basis of race, sex, religion, marital status, and any other normally protected class.

Yarbrough said that his motivation behind SB 1062 was the 2006 case of photographer Elane Huguenin, who was charged with discrimination by New Mexico’s Supreme Court for using religion as her reason behind refusing to photograph the commitment ceremony of a same-sex couple.

The court ruled that Huguenin’s refusal of service to the same-sex couple “violated the NMHRA in the same way as if it had refused to photograph a wedding between people of different races,” stated the court ruling, as reported by Think Progress.

Yarbrough doesn’t think that his bill will impede on human rights. He claims that as long as those being discriminated against have other options for service, then all is in good standing order.

“If he’s the only pharmacy in Bisbee, you may have a problem,” Yarbrough admitted. However, he explained, “if there are two more down the road and Target does this and there’s no issue, [then]you can go there.”

“And, of course, if he’s at all smart, is probably going to say, ‘And by the way, two blocks down the road is a Target and they have a pharmacy,’” Yarbrough said.

Under Yarbrough’s reasoning (which seems questionable to say the least), discrimination of any kind is perfectly permissible as long as the action is motivated by a religious belief.

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