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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : latest news : latest news November 25, 2015

2/23/2014 6:00:00 AM
Pierce wants Brewer to veto denial of service bill

Arizona Sen. Steve Pierce of Prescott is joining several gubernatorial candidates in calling for Gov. Jan Brewer to veto a controversial piece of legislation that would allow business owners to refuse to serve gays by citing their religious beliefs.

"I don't like the negative picture of Arizona, and I'm on board asking the governor to veto the bill," Pierce said Saturday.

Gubernatorial candidates against Senate Bill 1062 becoming law include State Treasurer Doug Ducey and attorney Christine Jones. Ducey supports some kind of consensus legislation to protect religious liberty, and Jones said the bill would damage the state's reputation and economic growth.

Other candidates for governor, Secretary of State Ken Bennett of Prescott and Mesa Mayor Scott Smith, say they don't support the bill. Bennett called it unnecessary and divisive, while Smith said it has the potential to negatively affect basic rights, including freedom of religion.

All three of the legislators representing the Prescott area voted for the bill, including Pierce.

"To say (the bill is) anti-gay is following the feeding frenzy," Pierce said. "I have friends that are gay and I wouldn't do anything to hurt them. This is blown way out of proportion and it's too bad."

Arizona House Speaker Andy Tobin of Paulden and Rep. Karen Fann of Prescott also defended their votes. (See the story in Saturday's Daily Courier for Tobin's comments.)

"This bill is not about discriminating against any person," Fann said Saturday.

"We have federal and state laws which prohibit those actions, which I wholeheartedly agree with."

She cited examples of what the bill is designed to prevent: a minister could be forced to perform a gay marriage, or a doctor could be forced to conduct an abortion.

The Arizona Religious Freedom Restoration Act currently prevents the state and its local governments from substantially burdening a person's exercise of religion, similar to the federal law.

SB1062 seeks to expand the law by expanding the definition of person to in-clude associations, businesses and churches; by expanding the definition of state action to include non-government persons; and by allowing people and businesses to use their religion as a defense in a judicial proceeding whether the government is involved or not.

Several legislators including Tobin said the law is needed after a New Mexico Supreme Court ruled against a photographer who refused to document a gay wedding. That court concluded the photographer violated the state's Human Rights Act that makes it illegal for a business to refuse service to people based on their sexual orientation. Arizona has no such law.

The AP contributed to this story.

Follow Joanna Dodder on Twitter @joannadodder

Related Stories:
• Brewer vetoes 'anti-gay' bill
• Letter: Business access law mocks freedom
• Opponents of Ariz. legislation targeting gays hold protests
• Service refusal legislation triggers firestorm: Tobin, Fann, Pierce voted for 'anti-gay' bill

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Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, February 28, 2014
Article comment by: I hate the Tea Parrty

Great job Prescott. You vote in a guy who votes for a bill he doesn't understand then goes on National Television looking like a complete moron asking the Gov to veto the bill he voted for. Send the Tea Party packing before they totally destroy the AZ economy by trying to force us into adopting their bigotry as law. Cathi Herrod needs to be tarred and feathered and run out of AZ sitting backward on a jackass like the cartoon character she is.

Posted: Thursday, February 27, 2014
Article comment by: Jack Jones

Seriously?? Pierce suddenly decides he's against something he voted for? How does a guy like that ever get elected in the first place? Prescott seems to have a real knack for electing some real winners (NOT). And, 'Help Please' ~ you couldn't have chosen a better phony name ~ congratulations!! Only one better ~ "Beyond Help"

Posted: Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Article comment by: Help Please

I just read SB 1062...3 times. I could not find the words "gay", "homosexual", "homophobia", "lesbian" or any other similar words. Can someone out there tell me, based upon the text of the law, where it is noted that gay/lesbian people are the target of SB 1062? Or that anyone or any group is the target of SB 1062. I'm starting to think that maybe a bunch of reactionary liberal types are just blowing this thing massively out of proportion, but I'm sure someone out there can help clarify the discriminatory terminology in the law that I must have missed. Thanks in advance

Posted: Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Article comment by: Mike Bates

Best reason to vote Democrat in the midterms to come along since . . . well since the last time Republicans spouted off about wanting to protect individual liberty. It feels like this kind of wrong is the new Right nonsense is almost a daily occurrence anymore.

Posted: Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Article comment by: Ron Drake

This proposed law, without a doubt is polarizing. People are very passionate about this on both sides, but are looking at it from different angles. On the christian side, they have felt squeezed with the Affordable Health Care Act and birth control and previous to that, abortion rights and their belief to right to life.

On the other side you have the perception that this proposal will lead to discrimination of gays, since it was conceived as a preemptive measure to uphold religious rights, in the light of a lawsuit in New Mexico.

Two perspectives on the issue. What I find interesting in the comments here is that the normal right wing conservative is going against the grain so to speak, in that this proposal is not generally supported by business, is toxic and almost anti-business for Arizona. Yes, it is a moral issue, for both sides.

I am disappointed with our local representatives in the sense that they were not savvy enough to foresee this controversy, their actions indicate they were just drones (lemmings?) following party platform, not thinking for themselves.

The Wall Street Journal sums it up pretty well.!3CBC9CB0-663E-4D42-AF3D-6A317EDE622D

Posted: Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Article comment by: Pierce Arrow

Pierce is a weathervane phony. Do the wrong thing then change your colors when you see
how bad it was.

The state of Arizona has been embarrassed, again, internationally and nationally, by the heedless actions of its elected officials. And who at the forefront but Pierce, Tobin, Fann, who mainly work for big campaign donors and special interests in the county.

Discriminate against gays? Who next? Mormons, Jews, ranchers? ... Brewer needs to veto this legislation, pronto, before it damages the state further.

Posted: Monday, February 24, 2014
Article comment by: @ michelle star & fellow Flea Circusians! Yes, free to be a bigot is exactly what it means!

Yes, Michelle, now you are catching on.

SB 1062 would in fact allow all these hateful bigots, homophobes, racists, ignatz, leaf rakers, pogo-stickers, normal people, headstanders, hairdressers, cake bakers, guy I saw last Tuesday walking down the street, baristas & baristos, skydivers, submarine mechanics, flower arrangers, you, me, and anyone else in any legal occupation or lawful business the right NOT to do business with another person...regardless of reason.

It's called freedom, and one should not need permission from anyone to be a bigot, racist, homophobe, or the opposite for that matter.

See, that is how America works, or at least used to when we were a good and great country of honor. Of course, that was before racism, discrimination, bigotry, affirmative action, busing, and tribalism became a central preoccupation of governments prodded by clueless do-gooders of the left who, with their schizophrenia (seen right here in these posts) started acting out if the thought they even smelled a bias.


Posted: Monday, February 24, 2014
Article comment by: Lizbeth Vaughn

Shouldn't this news story have answered this question, "Why did you vote for this bill, Mr. Pierce, if you want the governor to veto it?" Even a high school newspaper would have asked and answered that question. I'm disappointed in you, ...

Posted: Monday, February 24, 2014
Article comment by: Hey you- Much Ado...

Much Ado About Nothing:

Stand by your beliefs and share with us all what business you own please…so people like me can refuse to support you.


Posted: Monday, February 24, 2014
Article comment by: michelle star

Isn't it comforting to know our brotherly love Republican's 1062 law would protect and defend all religious private business owners in the state. Including business owners of Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim and a few other faiths. These Arizona religious business owners can legally exclude the American of their choice that offend or interferes with their personal religious freedoms.
Don't see any divisive problems there.

What about the KKK Christian business owner? Is he free to excise his personal religious freedom rights and exclude any American that goes against his own personal religious beliefs?.........."Whites Only"

It appears to the world the AZ Republican politician is attempting to add more extreme bigotry and hate to Arizona and the rest of the country. Exclusion/Hate signs everywhere!

This is another scary group of mostly bigoted Arizona Republican politicians that need to be voted out of power. They're reckless with it.

Posted: Monday, February 24, 2014
Article comment by: jake brake

"Fann cited examples of what the bill is designed to prevent: a doctor could be forced to conduct an abortion."

How dumb does she think we are?

Posted: Monday, February 24, 2014
Article comment by: Prescott native

My deeply held religious convictions hold that violence is a sin. Especially violence against children. When Tobin, Fann & Company are willing to prorate my taxes so I'm not paying for drug raids, I'll give credence to their yammering about religious freedom.

Posted: Monday, February 24, 2014
Article comment by: Decades of enabling

Pierce voted for it before he was against it---all in a matter of hours! With only 35% of the voters registered Republican, Arizona Independents should look themselves in the mirror and ask why they keep enabling these clowns to get into office?

Posted: Monday, February 24, 2014
Article comment by: Lorna Falkenstein

Judy B Your argument is a weak one and you know it. Discrimination in any form, is just that...and your examples given regarding other possible scenarios are no different. Each are examples of discrimination. We all need to tamp down the hate no matter what form it takes. The Constitution already protects us in this area. What needs to be changed is who we vote for, why and for those who take their oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States without giving it their own interpretation based on hate and their own discriminatory motivations directed by special interests. Very costly having to deal with those who do not realize the hate they hold in their hearts that is prime motivation for bills like SB1062 to begin with.

Posted: Monday, February 24, 2014
Article comment by: Having their cake -

And eating it too... the GOP house and senate pass the bill's to get their GOPTea bona fides and then count on the veto pen to save them from reality.

Show the true value of their votes.

Hope they are not upset when folks decide not to vote for them and their duplicitous/worthless votes.

What was that saying about standing for something or falling for anything?

Posted: Monday, February 24, 2014
Article comment by: ronald raygun

The republican party brings shame on Arizona and America yet again. Disgraceful!

Posted: Monday, February 24, 2014
Article comment by: Wackos Rules

This law is for the White American Christians Kind Of State. So an individual, business, corporation can refuse service to LGBT, Blacks, Asians, Indians, and Jews. Of course, the Blacks, Asians, Indians are easy to identify, but Jews will have to wear a star on their sleeves...

Posted: Monday, February 24, 2014
Article comment by: Martin Huff

All of the comments, here and with the editorial, are missing what is probably the bigger point of SB1062. The Arizona Center for Policy pretty much wrote and sponsored the bill. Many of the bills coming out of the state capital are written and lobbied for by outside concerns. This form the Arizona Center for Policy webiste: Since 1995, 123 Center for Arizona Policy-supported bills have been signed into law. 60 in the last five years alone!

Posted: Monday, February 24, 2014
Article comment by: Much Ado About Nothing

I refused to cater a gay union event, and they just got someone else to cater it. This bill is not neccessary because I have the right to refuse service to anyone, and this doesn't change it. It's in the constitution. The first amendment...

Posted: Monday, February 24, 2014
Article comment by: Slippery slope

Where do you draw the line between ''deeply held religious beliefs" and plain old garden-variety bigotry? Is there some kind of test?

Posted: Monday, February 24, 2014
Article comment by: Raymond Bridges

The bill represents political cynicism at its worst. WE know the bill won't withstand judicial scrutiny. THEY know the bill won't withstand judicial scrutiny. EVERYONE knows there's no way to do what they want to show what they would do if only they could do, but they get to turn to their political base and say "see, we did what was right, but those bogeymen in the judiciary once again stood in our way."

Posted: Monday, February 24, 2014
Article comment by: Edward Abbey

Signs signs everywhere a sign blocking up the scenery breaking my mind, do this don't do that can't you read the sign and the signs say no gays, no blacks no women no long hair freaky people no bald people no old people no young people no people with their pants below their waist. We don't serve your kind.

Posted: Monday, February 24, 2014
Article comment by: O. Delilah

If Karen Fann wanted to protect ministers from being "forced" to perform same-sex marriages and doctors from being "forced" to perform -- and the word is "perform," not "conduct" -- abortions, the law could have been worded that way. It isn't. It's worded to allow any business to refuse service to people on the grounds that they don't buy into the religious beliefs of the business owner. If that's not discrimination, I'm not sure what is.

Posted: Monday, February 24, 2014
Article comment by: Sheesh Deluxe

He was for it, until he realized people didn't like it. How convenient.

Posted: Sunday, February 23, 2014
Article comment by: paul collins

Headlines From the Courier:

"Pierce voted for bill."

"Pierce wants Brewer to veto bill."

Huh? .................Am I missing something?

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