State Senator Steve Pierce Worries About SB 1062's Effects on "Mega-Events"

In yet another embarrassing interview for Arizona, State Senator Steve Pierce defended SB 1062 on Fox News while urging its veto, and he openly worried about "bad publicity" for the state.

Pierce, a Republican from Prescott, was interviewed by anchor Martha MacCallum and said the intent of the bill had been "misconstrued" yet admitted that the idea behind it was so that businesses could keep some people out.

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Disturbingly, he likened the concept to a business owner hanging up a sign that says "no shirt, no shoes, no service." He left up to the imaginations of Fox News viewers what would be on the sign if SB 1062 became law.

"It was more like reinforcing and codifying if you go into a restaurant and it says, 'no shirt, no shoes, no service -- that, uh, that would be fine; you can do that," Pierce told MacCallum. "You don't have to allow everybody in because maybe it's their religion to not wear a shirt, or maybe you know whatever it be."

After essentially telling viewers the bill does indeed allow blatant discrimination by business owners, perhaps even in a prominent sign hung in the business, Pierce went on to explain that the bill's supporters certainly didn't intend for the bill to encourage discrimination.

"Perception has taken over," Pierce complained, noting that the "same bill" was passed by the Arizona Legislature last year and vetoed by Governor Jan Brewer, "and no one said anything."

Now, "it's gotten the ire of everyone around the world saying it's about gays and lesbians," he said.

At that point, MacCallum reminded him that the bill was, in fact, a response to business owners' decisions to discriminate against same-sex wedding partners. That caused Pierce to again deny the bill would legalize discrimination and again to admit it would allow business owners to "refuse service" to certain customers.

Yet whatever the bill would do, Pierce emphasizes that his main worry now is that "it's damaging to the state."

Confessing he and other Republican lawmakers made a mistake in approving the bill, he hopes for a veto that will "stop all this."

MacCallum asks him about the "idea" that Arizona "shouldn't have the Super Bowl" or the Apple plant in Mesa. Pierce replied that "certainly" he was concerned about those issues.

"Because we're trying to get mega-events from the RNC, the DNC, the Final Four -- a lot of things, and those are all great for our economy," he said. "We don't need to have any bad publicity . . . We're doing everything we can to enhance the businesses coming here. We're hoping we can get this out of the way and go on quickly down the road."

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.