How Arizona Looks to the Rest of the Nation, Thanks to SB 1062

If Arizona's anti-immigrant law wasn't enough to tarnish the state's reputation, the state's "religious freedom" bill already is causing plenty of damage.

Despite a huge outpouring of opposition toward the bill from Arizona residents, business groups, and even Republican lawmakers not in the state Legislature, the state's once again being painted as the land of hatred, thanks to Senate Bill 1062.

See also:
-Arizona's "Religious Freedom" Bill in the Hands of Governor Brewer
-Leaders, Gay-Rights Activists Call On Governor To Veto "Religious Freedom" Bill

The bill would expand the rights of businesses to make exercise-of-religion claims in court. Senate Bill 1062 sponsor Republican Steve Yarbrough specifically has likened his legislation to the case in New Mexico, in which a wedding photographer refused to photograph a lesbian couple's wedding. Yarbrough's bill would give the photographer a defense of exercising a "sincerely held religious belief," if that were an Arizona case.

The bill is seen as an anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender bill because LGBT people are not recognized as a "protected class" of people under Arizona law.

Governor Jan Brewer still has the rest of the week to decide whether to veto the legislation, but the fact that the Republican-controlled Legislature was able to pass the bill has already sparked enough outrage.

Several Democrats who fought against the bill said that SB 1062 was going to rank right up there with SB 1070 and former Governor Evan Mecham's fight against Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Arizona in the late '80s. ("You folks don't need another holiday," Mecham was quoted as saying. "What you folks need are jobs.")

Based on the national news media's response to the bill so far, it looks like those Dems might be right. Below, find a few examples of how Arizona's being portrayed to the rest of the country, thanks to SB 1062:

As was the case with SB 1070, all the protests and opposition to the bill won't be what's remembered if Governor Jan Brewer signs SB 1062 into law -- it'll just be another reason to look down on Arizona.

Got a tip? Send it to: Matthew Hendley.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley