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Controversial and heavily debated Arizona bill was all about gays, or was it?

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  • Stormwalker Cleveland , OH
    March 3, 2014 4:57 p.m.

    @Jamescmeyer
    "The purpose of the bill is to protect people from the atrocities and discrimination religious people increasingly face in the United States, of all places."

    According to the FBI, in 2012 (the latest year available) there were 1,318 violent hate crimes committed against Gay and Lesbian Americans. The Southern Poverty Law Center examined population percentages and FBI statistics over a 13 year period and found that Gay and Lesbian Americans are 8.3 times more likely to be the victim of a violent hate crime than other Americans - more likely than any other group.

    In other news, a Christian photographer was asked to take pictures of a Gay commitment ceremony, and two different Christian bakers were asked to bake wedding cakes for gay weddings.

  • Jamescmeyer Midwest City, USA, OK
    March 3, 2014 7:49 a.m.

    This bill has nothing to do with homosexuals. The purpose of the bill is to protect people from the atrocities and discrimination religious people increasingly face in the United States, of all places.

    The reason it's twisted to be "anti-gay" is because the vast majority of that discrimination and intimidation are from those trying to change marriage.

  • PolishBear Charleston, WV
    March 3, 2014 7:42 a.m.

    Business is business. It doesn't matter whether you're talking about a bakery or a restaurant, a photo studio or a factory. They aren't in the business of providing spiritual guidance or enforcing moral doctrines. They are there to turn a profit. As such, they are obligated to abide by prevailing civil rights laws, whether those laws protect people from discrimination based on race, religion, or sexual orientation.

    Conservative columnist Erick Erickson came to the defense of Christian business owners: "Committed Christians believe in a doctrine of vocation. They believe that their work is a form of ministry. Through their work, they can share the gospel and glorify God."

    Oh, and also rake in as much money as possible. You can wax poetic all you want about "glorifying God," but at the end of the day these businesses wouldn't exist were it not for the profit motive.

  • dmcvey Los Angeles, CA
    March 2, 2014 1:50 p.m.

    Arizona didn't have a law that prohibited discrimination against GLBT people. This was just a mean spirited law that just shored up discrimination by making it explicit. The states where business owners have been successfully sued have nondiscrimition laws that include GLBT people. To my knowledge Utah, Arizona (and Texas) are such places. I think the businesses that don't want to serve gay weddings should be required to post it on their stores or websites so that I'll know not to go to that photographer or baker for any reason.

  • philipcfromnyc Far Rockaway, NY
    March 2, 2014 12:19 p.m.

    The fact that SB1062 was written in facially neutral terms should not have caused anybody to doubt the true purpose of this bill. With a recent rash of US District Court decisions (in the wake of US v. Windsor, 570 U.S. ___ (2013)) all mandating that the states concerned recognize and permit gay marriage (Texas became the latest such state -- see De Leon v. Perry (February 26)), right-wing fanatics are trying to claim exemption from non-discrimination statutes on religious liberty bases. However, non-discrimination measures have been tested before the US Supreme Court, and have passed constitutional muster under a Commerce Clause analysis.

    The irony is that Arizona is one of more than half the states which do NOT have state-wide protections against sexual orientation discrimination on their books! (I do not know which cities, towns, or other jurisdictions may carry such measures at the local level). Arizona law already permits the owner of a restaurant, motel, hotel, or other place of public accommodation to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, just as it permits landlords to evict gay tenants (absent local measures to the contrary).

    This bill was about creating a climate of hostility and cruelty.

    PHILIP CHANDLER

  • equal protection Cedar, UT
    March 2, 2014 8:39 a.m.

    "Why should a person that doesn't wish to serve somebody be forced to. Every time there is a bill that sets up protection to religious values the courts and states cuts them down."

    Was the proposed law a solution trying to find a problem? In Arizona, a business can already refuse to provide service to homosexuals for any reason.

    The law was needed so that emergency rooms could refuse to admit homosexuals and so that 911 operators could refuse to dispatch an ambulance to homosexuals based on sincerely held religious beliefs.

  • Willem Los Angeles, CA
    March 1, 2014 8:32 p.m.

    Two decisions last week on same-sex relationships reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to treat all Americans equally and fairly under the law:
    A federal court Wednesday declared a Texas law banning same-sex marriages to be unconstitutional. The same day, in Arizona, Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed a bill that could have allowed Arizona businesses to discriminate against same-sex couples on religious grounds.
    Mormons are you listening?

  • Eliyahu Pleasant Grove, UT
    March 1, 2014 7:34 p.m.

    @wrz:

    "Which religion are you referring to...? If Christian the answer is, yes, it is under attack."

    Christianity is hardly under attack here. Churches are flourishing more in the US than anywhere in the world. The fact that people criticize Christians or churches is just part of the price we pay for having freedom of speech along with religious freedom. When was the last time you heard of a church being burned in the US by an angry mob, or a missionary lynched? Or is it that you can't force school children to be preached to in schools and make your religion the official national religion? Any restrictions on religious activities faced by Christians are the same ones that apply to all religions; not just your own. The fact is, Christians in many other countries would give everything they have in order to obtain the same religious liberty found in the US.

  • LeslieDF Alameda, CA
    March 1, 2014 7:28 p.m.

    @ Zona Zone: The free market means I go into a bakery to buy a cake. I do not go in to find out what religious beliefs the owner may have. The owner does not come with the cake to our wedding. Nor does eating cake in any way involve being married, or who I marry.

    My time in finding a business that sells what it advertises - wedding cake - is just as important and economically relevant as the price. The baker's "sincerely held religious beliefs?" I'm not buying that, paying for that, or wasting my time (money) for that.

    What would buying a bed involve, under your scheme, from a "Christian" furniture store, or salesperson? How would I know before entering the store?

  • Two For Flinching Salt Lake City, UT
    March 1, 2014 7:10 p.m.

    @ Zona Zone

    I'm sorry, which religion teaches that people should discrimianate against LGBT people? There are no religious freedoms being violated in this case.

  • Henry Drummond San Jose, CA
    March 1, 2014 6:29 p.m.

    So if an Evangelical uses this statute or one like it to refuse to rent an apartment to a Mormon because of his sincerely held religious belief that Mormons are not Christians that would be a justifiable act of religious liberty? I think this newspaper would be up in arms about it. As it says in the Talmud, "That which is hateful to yourself, do not unto others."

  • SoCalChris Riverside, CA
    March 1, 2014 5:45 p.m.

    I think Gov Brewer made the right call and said the right things.

    You can't legislate a perfect world and we already have the 1st Amendment. I think the bill was unnecessarily divisive, probably too broadly drafted, and would have hurt AZ more than it helped.

    I love Chris B's suggestion.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    March 1, 2014 5:00 p.m.

    @GB;

    Sure, there are many scriptures relating to "sinners"; Jesus said "treat others how you want to be treated", he never said "don't do business with sinners". You've skirted the question and failed to show a direct scripture "do not do business with sinners".

    @wrz;

    Those "money changers", like today's, are the one's manning the temples (i.e., "faithful Christians").

    RG says:

    "But baking a cake especially to celebrate a gay union is a different thing. You would force the baker to celebrate something they have deep religious convictions against. "

    Hardly. Does the baker actually "celebrate" the weddings of his heterosexual customers? No. He simply bakes a wedding cake. The same thing asked by the gay customer.

    @Zona Zone;

    The day that these businesses actually refuse to bake cakes, sell flowers or photograph the weddings of other sinners, then you can say it's about "religious freedom"; until that day, it is only bigotry. Using religion to justify bigotry is insulting to religion; not to mention it is driving more and more people away from your "god".

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    March 1, 2014 4:43 p.m.

    For Governor Brewer, her final veto was about Arizona losing the super bowl...

  • Zona Zone Mesa, AZ
    March 1, 2014 3:52 p.m.

    Let's explain what's really on the line here: Forcing someone to violate their religious freedom just so you don't have to drive another block to get the same product or service is unconscionable. That sounds like we are sacrificing the important interest for the trivial interest. America is selling away its first freedom for pennies.

    The punishment store owners or employees should face are free market repercussions, i.e. loss of business or loss of employment. The solution is not force people to violate their religion. Unlike African-Americans of the last century, there is no evidence that gays are being economically repressed. The overwhelming majority of businesses value them as customer, and rightly so. By allowing gays to have a cause of action against the scant few who might discriminate against them is to allow gays to run roughshod over another's closely held beliefs for no meaningful benefit to society at large.

    Once again, the masses are inviting tyranny by confusing "They shouldn't do that" with "We shouldn't let them do that."

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    March 1, 2014 2:40 p.m.

    "Yes it was designed to denigrate the gay community including us LDS gay couples, thats exactly the way the Nazi party handled the Jews in Germany not too long ago."

    I actually agree with you, and think it is not only shameful, but unpatriotic, and immoral, but another Nazi reference?

    Please, please, stop comparing everything you don't like with the Nazi's.

    If your argument can't stand on it's own without being analogous to the Nazi's, you'd better re-think it. If it does stand alone, say it and move on.

  • Noodlekaboodle Poplar Grove, UT
    March 1, 2014 2:20 p.m.

    @AZEIR
    So should handicapped people just not go outside, I mean until the ADA it was very hard to live a public life with a physical handicap especially in a wheelchair. But we should get rid of that, wouldn't want any protected classes of people right? What about the fact that it's illegal to discriminate against someone because of their religion. I wouldn't want to be LDS in the south..... What about race? Are you really OK with someone who is in the KKK being able to deny service at the ER because their religion(and they claim religious roots) says anyone who isn't white is subhuman?

  • RG Buena Vista, VA
    March 1, 2014 2:04 p.m.

    @Ranchhand: you said "Please show me ANY scripture in your religion that says you shouldn't do business with gays or lesbians, or any other sinners for that matter. Any scripture."

    You do not understand the issue. The issue is not about doing business with gays, lesbians, or sinners. Selling gays, lesbians, or sinners bread or cookies or birthday cakes is one thing. But baking a cake especially to celebrate a gay union is a different thing. You would force the baker to celebrate something they have deep religious convictions against. And the same would go for me, if I was a baker, I would not want to bake a cake for a couple that was celebrating "shacking up together." And I would not want to bake a cake with a frosting marijuana leaf to celebrate someone's love of pot. But I'd be happy to sell these people my normal products.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    March 1, 2014 2:03 p.m.

    LeslieDF says;

    "No. The "motive" stated by people who are proposing these laws is to prevent lawsuits from gay people against religious people,..."

    These are BUSINESS PEOPLE. That is what they do, operate a business. Their businesses HAVE NO RELIGION. Their businesses do not worship. Their businesses do not believe. Their businesses do not pray. Businesses have no religion and should not be allowed to use religion as a reason to discriminate - period.

    @Mom of Six;

    Your comparison is faulty. Victoria Secret sells women's items. Men's Warehouse sells men's items. That is their business model. Similarly, a business that bakes wedding cakes bakes wedding cakes and a business that photographs weddings photographs weddings. That is their business model. The question to ask yourself is does the women's apparel business sell to all women or do they tell some to go elsewhere? Same for the men's apparel, bakers and photographers.

  • oragami St. George, UT
    March 1, 2014 1:51 p.m.

    @ Upson Downs

    You said: "Gay people continually whine and shout that their rights are being ignored."

    The majority of citizens now recognize that gay people actually face significant injustice. The same can't be said for religious people. That obviously does not stop them from continually crying wolf however.

  • TheTrueVoice West Richland, WA
    March 1, 2014 1:43 p.m.

    "However, in changing the narrative, the media successfully launched an aggressive attack on those of faith."

    Please. It is intellectually lazy to hide behind victimhood mentality.

    SB 1062 was never an issue of religious freedom, it was about an opportunity to circumvent the public commerce clause when imposing one's personal code upon others. Shouting religious freedom was an attempt to make the victimizer the victim in order to justify intolerance.

    Look, there is no defensible position to take with regard to SB 1062. None. It was morally reprehensible on every level. It is transparently disingenuous to suggest this bill didn't specifically target gays.

  • shesaidohkay Utopia, UT
    March 1, 2014 1:39 p.m.

    @HeresA: "I find it fascinating that both President Obama and former President Clinton have both supported traditional marriage in the past (Clinton even signed DOMA into law) when it was easy to express that feeling; now that it is a highly unpopular stance, their feelings have "evolved". I'm sure it was just a growing phase and not politically motivated."

    If the will of the people changes they should too if they're our representatives- assuming they are there for us and not themselves. "Highly unpopular stance" is the key here.

    Also, "in changing the narrative, the media successfully launched an aggressive attack on those of faith"- I'm afraid "those of faith" bring attacks on themselves when they spew hateful bigotry or act nothing like the God they preach of.

    There is a difference between a NATION and a CONGREGATION. I welcome and enjoyed your comment but it made me think....

  • wrz Phoenix, AZ
    March 1, 2014 1:25 p.m.

    @Josephbunzol:
    "That being said, a Business person, open to the Public, does not have the right to discriminate or refuse business unless the customer is acting in a way that is dangerous for the owner, the employees or the business."

    Suppose the owner had a young son or daughter helping around the shop. Serving an LGBT may send the message to the children that such a life-style was OK... nothing wrong with it. So the kid goes out and tries it. Would that be harmful or dangerous? Yes.

    @RanchHand:
    "Please show me ANY scripture in your religion that says you shouldn't do business with gays or lesbians, or any other sinners for that matter. Any scripture."

    Who knows... the money changers driven from the temple by Jesus coulda been gay/lesbian.

    @Mom of Six:
    "Personally, I think a man should sue Victoria's Secret because they don't sell items for men....isn't that discrimination?"

    Men shop there... those who wear women's clothes.

    "Would I really want to eat something that someone was forced to make for me..no way!"

    Agreed. They mighta put something horrid in the cake... like a goober.

  • GB Silver Spring, MD
    March 1, 2014 1:12 p.m.

    Two For Flinching @ 2/28/14 11:56 PM and RanchHand @ 3/1/14 8:45 AM:
    There are lots of religious teachings that (1) homosexual behavior is wrong and (2) people (including business owners) should be able to make their own decisions. Are you denying that those religious teachings exist?

    I understand Two For Flinching's premise that it is wrong to discriminate against people who are "different." Lots of people discriminated against Chick-Fil-A's founder (through criticizing him and boycotting his business) when he made some statements that were "different" from their beliefs. Did you disagree with that discrimination against him? Or was he the wrong type of "different"?

    Regarding RanchHand's question whether "these religious bigots refuse to serve adulterers? Murderers? Fornicators?" If I owned a bakery, then yes, if someone asked me to bake a cake in celebration of their relationship with a person who is married to someone else, I probably would refuse to do so.

    In response to lots of other commenters, it is intellectually lazy to say that, because you can see a couple of similarities to the Holocaust or to Jim Crow laws, today's situation is automatically the same.

  • wrz Phoenix, AZ
    March 1, 2014 12:53 p.m.

    @Chris B:
    "Then, obey the law and bake their cake."

    The bakery should bake the cake and charge triple or more for it. Noting that doing business with LGBT's would surely have a negative effect on future business.

    @Janet:
    "Jesus said, 'Judge not, that ye be not judged.'"

    He also drove the money changers out of the temple. Would that be judging?

    "Refusing service is saying, 'I do not deem you worthy of my service.'"

    Not so... it means I have a right to serve who I will. Some are denied service in some establishments unless they're dressed properly.

    "I once took my white son and his African-American girlfriend to dinner in a small Texas city. The waitress was unfriendly, slammed down our plates, and treated us with as little respect as she could get away with."

    I'm guessing you didn't leave a tip.

    @AZEIR:
    "The underlying premise of this bill and the reporter's argument is religion is under attack in Arizona and elsewhere. It isn't."

    Which religion are you referring to...? If Christian the answer is, yes, it is under attack. If Muslim or atheism the answer is, no.

  • Bendana 99352, WA
    March 1, 2014 12:35 p.m.

    I have a simple solution. Any business that wishes to avoid being sued for discrimination will be required to post a list of any services or people they will not do business with based on their 'religious' beliefs', and then we'll let the free market decide if the general public will continue to support these business. No confusion, no surprises. These business get to keep themselves free from 'supporting and availing sin' (insert eye roll here) and the rest of us will know immediately if this business is worthy of our support..

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    March 1, 2014 12:04 p.m.

    It is behavior like this that gives religion a bad name. The motivation behind the bill was explicit, yet today it's being denied. The motivation behind the SSM bans is transparently religious, yet the current argument is that it was really "about the children." I'm sorry, but this is just dishonesty. And an insult to the intelligence. Own your stuff. I may still disagree with it, but at least I can respect your truthfulness.

  • Kate Hutch Kenmore, WA
    March 1, 2014 12:02 p.m.

    Jesus would have baked them a cake. And taken their wedding pictures, too.

  • DanO Mission Viejo, CA
    March 1, 2014 11:55 a.m.

    So, sounds like many here who think business owners should be able to pick and choose their customers believe Utah should get rid of their own public accommodation law. Or is that only if sexual orientation was a protected class?

    13-7-3. Equal right in business establishments, places of public accommodation, and enterprises regulated by the state.
    All persons within the jurisdiction of this state are free and equal and are entitled to full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities, privileges, goods and services in all business establishments and in all places of public accommodation, and by all enterprises regulated by the state of every kind whatsoever, without discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, ancestry or national origin. Nothing in this act shall be construed to deny any person the right to regulate the operation of a business establishment or place of public accommodation or an enterprise regulated by the state in a manner which applies uniformly to all persons without regard to race, color, sex, religion, ancestry, or national origin; or to deny any religious organization the right to regulate the operation and procedures of its establishments.

  • Lightbearer Brigham City, UT
    March 1, 2014 11:42 a.m.

    To avoid embarrassing situations and keep unwanted customers from walking through the door, businesses could post signs in their windows and publish notices in the phone book and on their websites saying, for example:

    "As Christians, we proudly refuse to serve _______________, _______________, and _______________, because to do so would violate our religious beliefs."

    (Filling in the blanks with all applicable characteristics ("sinners") or party affiliations, ethnicities, religions, genders, sexual orientations, etc.)

    And to anticipate awkward questions, they could add something like this:

    "We reserve the right to judge who is a sinner," etc.

    And this:

    "It does not violate our religious beliefs to break Jesus's commandment to 'treat others as you would want them to treat you,' even though he said 'in everything,' even though he said that 'this fulfills the law and the prophets,' and even though he *didn't* say 'except sinners,' or 'except _______________, _______________, and _______________.'"

    (Again listing the offensive group(s).)

    Like-minded customers would flock to such businesses, and those of a different mind could shun them.

    Such measures would surely be conducive to a more pleasant commercial atmosphere than having to refuse people to their faces.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    March 1, 2014 11:33 a.m.

    Those waging the war of religion, as represented by this piece, are not being candid and forthright.

  • Baker Boy Westminster, CA
    March 1, 2014 11:26 a.m.

    The notion that this bill wasn’t proposed as an anti-gay measure strikes me as ludicrous. Why would several major corporations threaten to pull out of Arizona if they did not see SB 1062 as a means to discriminate against a targeted minority group within the state.

    It would seem that the legislators who passed this bill haven’t gauged the extent to which most Americans are no longer comfortable with the prejudice that still exists when it comes to the treatment of gay people.

    When political leaders in Arizona, saw what effect the passage of SB 1062 would have on the business climate in the state, they added their significant voice to the calls for a veto. Good for them.

    Governor Jan Brewer got it just right in her veto message saying that

    "I sincerely believe that Senate Bill 1062 has the potential to create more problems than it purports to solve. It could divide Arizona in ways we cannot even imagine and no one would ever want."

    Well said, Governor.

  • LeslieDF Alameda, CA
    March 1, 2014 11:18 a.m.

    Dear Mom of Six: When I see the catalog, go into the store, I know what Victoria's Secret sells. Some men DO buy their products and DO use their products.

    If you want, gay couples who marry and want to order a cake, could send someone else to the bakery to do that for them, order online, or by phone.

    Does Victoria's Secret really ask any of their customers "Who are you?" and "What do you want to purchase this item for?" Do any employees or the CEO think: "Because I know how our products can be used, I'm going to tell (some - any - all) customers they cannot have what we sell unless I agree to what they do with it?

    Is there a "Christian Victoria's Secret" chain separate from the regular one?

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    March 1, 2014 11:05 a.m.

    @Thid Barker
    "Chris B. Excellent! You should run for President!"

    Heh, Politifact would have to hire more workers just to analyze all his falsehoods in assessing BYU sports.

    @Clifton
    "Jim Crow laws were found in Northern States as well.
    One example will suffice:
    The notorious school-desegregation case was Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas."

    Kansas was a slave state, it's not considered northern. Basically, pick something from a blue state if you want something northern (I'm pretty sure something exists, probably including school segregation).

    @Mom of Six
    " I think a man should sue Victoria's Secret because they don't sell items for men....isn't that discrimination?"

    No, the issue is selling a product to some people but restricting it from others. So, if Victoria's Secret didn't let men make purchases from their store, that'd be the similar situation.

    @Heresathought
    Reverse it for Obama, he'd supported same-sex marriage before running for President but wimped out of it since there wasn't enough public support so he gave those nonsensical statements about "evolving".

  • EstoPerpetua Holden, MA
    March 1, 2014 10:55 a.m.

    God created all humanity including gays and it is not a choice, because I am gay and I did not choose to be that way. Same sex is also in the animal kingdom as pointed out by science.

    People created money and business and they should treat each other with kindness instead of creating negative bills etc. which discriminate against others.

  • Ron Hilton Holladay, UT
    March 1, 2014 10:00 a.m.

    Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is not presently illegal in Arizona. So the bill was unnecessary in that respect. But if there were an anti-discrimination law in the future, it should include protection for religious freedom, just as some of the local anti-discrimination ordinances do here in Utah, although it needs to protect individual religious freedom as well, not just churches and similar institutions. The law should protect the rights of both sides (homosexuality and religion) or neither side, but not one at the expense of the other. Discrimination against someone based on either sexuality or religion is equally wrong. But forcing one to support the other is also wrong! That is the important distinction.

  • CBAX Provo, UT
    March 1, 2014 9:51 a.m.

    Notes to both sides:

    1-Voice your opinion. Great!
    2-If it comes to a vote. Vote!
    3-If a judge declares it unconstitutional. System working as intended!
    4-If you want to appeal, sure try!
    5-The appeal is successful or not!

    Work in your own circles of influence (where appropriate) to make a change for what you think is better. If needed vote with your feet.

    The system will be as moral as the people. If society lowers its standards in the inexorable march to the left, do not expect "morals" to stop it as the system is people, it follows society.

  • HeresAThought Queen Creek, AZ
    March 1, 2014 9:24 a.m.

    I find it fascinating that both President Obama and former President Clinton have both supported traditional marriage in the past (Clinton even signed DOMA into law) when it was easy to express that feeling; now that it is a highly unpopular stance, their feelings have "evolved". I'm sure it was just a growing phase and not politically motivated.

    That being said, the media, not inviduals, made SB1062 about denying service to gays. While it is true that recent cases involving small business owners rejecting the offer for business to a same sex wedding out of religious objection to SSM, not the inviduals, was a large part of the narrative, the author of the story is correct. The bill did not include verbiage that specifically called out gays.

    These stories were relevant to the dialogue because they spotlight the one-way street of tolerance. They also call attention to the fact that none of the business owners faired very well afterwards, whether it was to penalties, harassment or otherwise. These stories were newsworthy and documented evidence in favor FOR this bill to be passed. However, in changing the narrative, the media successfully launched an aggressive attack on those of faith.

  • Eliyahu Pleasant Grove, UT
    March 1, 2014 9:18 a.m.

    @a_voice_of_reason:
    "would anyone shout "discrimination" to a baker who refused to bake a cake for a Klu Klux Klan meeting?"

    There is a vast difference between refusing to provide a service for an organization whose purpose is to spread hatred and intolerance, and refusing to provide a service to an individual based on who he is, rather than what he does.

    While the bill did not specifically reference gays as its target, it is clear from all of the discussion by its proponents that this is exactly who they meant to see discriminated against. Who else would they like us to think that they wanted businesses to be able to refuse service to? Blacks? Republicans? Soldiers? Hispanics? No, what they wanted to say was that they don't have to do business with those they see as sinners; but there is only one "sin" that they have in mind. The rest of the sinners -- those who lie, steal, fornicate, the gluttons, the lustful, etc. -- all of them get a free pass and they have no problem doing business with them.

  • Mom of Six Northern Utah, UT
    March 1, 2014 9:15 a.m.

    Businesses discriminate all the time. (Personally, I think a man should sue Victoria's Secret because they don't sell items for men....isn't that discrimination?) Let businesses rise or fall on their own. If a baker really refused to service me due to my religious convictions, would I sue, no. Would I really want to eat something that someone was forced to make for me..no way! What this all boils down to is the fact that there are some people who try to drum up money making opportunities by screaming discrimination. Sad, but true.

  • Clifton Palmer McLendon Gilmer, TX
    March 1, 2014 9:02 a.m.

    "... now-vanquished 'Jim Crow' laws in many Southern states ..."

    Jim Crow laws were found in Northern States as well.

    One example will suffice:

    The notorious school-desegregation case was Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas.

  • LeslieDF Alameda, CA
    March 1, 2014 8:56 a.m.

    Schnee: "prevent lawsuits from gay people against photographers/florists/etc"

    No. The "motive" stated by people who are proposing these laws is to prevent lawsuits from gay people against religious people, who are photographers, florists, bakers, dress-makers, limousine drivers, and a whole host of others with businesses in the "wedding" industry.

    Their reason? They do not want to serve or do business with other people - some who are religious, some who are not. Rather than demonstrate their faith, they want to run away from it.

    At best, they want to advertise as a "Christian Baker," "Religious Florist," or "Traditional Wedding Photographer." Nothing prevents that now, without the proposed law. They cannot be sued for truthful advertising in Arizona, or other states.

    At worst, they want to avoid any challenge to their faith. What is that called?

  • ulvegaard Medical Lake, Washington
    March 1, 2014 8:46 a.m.

    This is a very touchy subject and one that can become complicated very quickly. One almost needs a crystal ball to detect each situation and every circumstance correctly.

    Should we discriminate? Of course not. Should we deliberately seek out opportunities to set up people and businesses for a law suit. Definitely not.

    I believe that both of these extremes happen on a regular basis. In today's world where litigation is one of the top money earners in the country, it is understandable that many individuals and businesses are nervous - a single incident can result in complete and total bankruptcy. At the same time, the world is full of haters who are anxious to dictate how everyone should conduct their lives.

    We need to find common ground. People need to be allowed to live their lives as they choose without anyone else undermining them. This goes for 'both sides'.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    March 1, 2014 8:45 a.m.

    @LovelyDeseret;

    Please show me ANY scripture in your religion that says you shouldn't do business with gays or lesbians, or any other sinners for that matter. Any scripture.

    @Chris B;

    We gays are happy to support the "defense of families" as we have/are families too. Thanks for your support.

    @Upson Downs;

    Same question for you as LovelyDesert. Where do your scriptures tell you to not serve gays and lesbians? And why should we have to go from business to business to business to find ONE that will serve us when the business we approach first provides that same service for everyone else?

    Additonally, do these religious bigots refuse to serve adulterers? Murderers? Fornicators? If so, then it really ISN'T about "religious conscience" is it! It's about disapproval of gays.

    @Concerned;

    Being gay is only a "moral issue" in the same way that being straight is a "moral issue" (i.e., it's not).

  • wazzup Cottonwood Heights, UT
    March 1, 2014 8:38 a.m.

    @Hutterite. How would this bill have discriminated against gays. It simply protected religious people from being forced to doing business with them. Get that word, force? Gays don't want our morals forced on them. We don't want their lifestyle forced on us. It's call freedom.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    March 1, 2014 8:37 a.m.

    Spin it any way you like, but the express purpose of this bill was to allow people to discriminate against gays and use their religion as their excuse.

    Conservatives are trying to make it look like they're the victims here. Spin, spin, spin, too much more spin and it's going to interfere with the rotation of the Earth.

  • Josephbunzol chicago, IL
    March 1, 2014 8:28 a.m.

    Assuming most of the bloggers are fellow Latter Day Saints, I am saddened to see so many negative comments. Your Church loves all people. We do not love the sin of the sexual act in Homosexual behavior. That being said, a Business person, open to the Public, does not have the right to discriminate or refuse business unless the customer is acting in a way that is dangerous for the owner, the employees or the business. I could easily see this law being used to deny African Americans access based on the now discredited position of being "cursed" or "less Valiant" in a prior existence. After all, as all point out, the bill never mentions who specifically could be refused service.

    As an aside, amazed how many on here wish to hide their identity. Always makes it easier to through stones.

  • Janca salt lake city, utah
    March 1, 2014 8:10 a.m.

    Not that many years ago, the name of God and religion was gladly called upon to explain and demand that businesses be allowed to discriminate against black people. We know how wrong that was even though the God-fearing people at the time were absolutely certain that they were in the right. Many still think they were right.

    @Upson Downs, try to re-read your post like this, and see how it may change the way it feels, because this IS the way it feels to many of us:
    "Black people continually whine and shout that their rights are being ignored. They cry and say they just want to be understood. Yet when it comes to the rights of a religious person, running a business, the blacks say the business owner's rights don't matter. Whey don't black people just go to businesses that want their patronage and seek it. Leave the religious person's business alone and be tolerant and accepting of his/her rights. Basically the same thing you want. Take your business elsewhere."

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    March 1, 2014 7:59 a.m.

    You know Chris B, I don't really disagree with you this time.

    Maybe I'm missing something, but as a non religious person (an atheist) I don't really have a problem with someone having the right to express a personal opinion in public.

    You have to recognize however that there are limits to public speech also so when you say "obey the law" I would include free speech laws also.

  • its2hotinaz Saint David, AZ
    March 1, 2014 7:56 a.m.

    Who is the one being discriminated against? Is it the Minority (take your pick, there are more minorities than "majorities") or the one who has been guaranteed religious freedom by the Constitution?

    There are many choices on where people of any group can go and be welcomed. Sometimes the minority individual will target a specific business because of the policy they hold, not because they want their service.

    Discrimination is bad for business but the business belongs to the person who put the effort into building it up. What they choose to do to promote the business should be up to them and them alone.

    Let the free market decide if the business succeeds or fails. That is what Brewer did. She caved to the pressure of businesses and organizations who wanted to take their business elsewhere.

    The pressure for change like this comes best from the marketplace and not activist groups with an agenda.

  • HeresAThought Queen Creek, AZ
    March 1, 2014 7:50 a.m.

    It is curious how both Clinton and Obama have historically stood for traditional marriage when it was easy to do so, however when it isn't, or when their political careers call for it, their feelings "evolve". That being said, the narrative on this bill was dictated by the media (surprisingly) from defense of religious beliefs to an aggressive attack on LGBT and the right to deny them a service or good. Not only did they have absolutely zero proof or factual evidence to support that kind of approach would work (see photographer, baker et al), they had compelling evidence to the contrary. Those famous cases were cited because of their direct relevance, and the outcomes seem to have been overwhelmingly one sided. So, insinuating that anyone in AZ attempting to refuse serving gays pending using this amendment to existing law is either ignorant or terrible at customer service. Not only do those cases highlight the social beheading of people who have already stood up for their beliefs, but they give a foreboding of what is to come for those whose faith is a major factor in their lives.

  • Furry1993 Ogden, UT
    March 1, 2014 7:28 a.m.

    @Chris B 9:48 p.m. Feb. 28, 2014

    . . .
    Let the "couple" know what you think of homosexuality and that you support what God has said on the matter.

    Tell them you will bake them a cake but the proceeds will be given to a number of groups that support traditional marriage only.

    Then, obey the law and bake their cake. Give them their cake and thank them for supporting the defense of families.
    -----------------

    My husband and I are straight and long-married, so that wouldn't be an issue directly for us. BUT, If that were done to a family member or friend of ours, we would promptly make a donation in the name of the baker (with acknowledgment for the donation being sent to the baker) to the Human Rights Campaign Fund or Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) or another organization that REALLY defends families. We would, of course, also thank them both for the excellent cake AND the fact that their donation helped gay rights and defending the rights of ALL families.

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    March 1, 2014 7:22 a.m.

    " Let the "couple" know what you think of homosexuality and that you support what God has said on the matter."

    Yes, Im sure this would never escalate when some fundamentalist goes off in someones face.
    And then the attacked, can tell them how they feel about their imaginary friends, and all will agree to change their beliefs.

    This is not proselytizing, it's some kind of personal stoning for what?

  • Thid Barker Victor, ID
    March 1, 2014 7:18 a.m.

    Chris B. Excellent! You should run for President!

  • Joemamma W Jordan, UT
    March 1, 2014 7:10 a.m.

    It doesn't matter if the bill was written in an effort to protect religious freedom and principles!! The point is that there was nothing in the bill targeting LGBT or mentioning it.

    Why is it that LGBT do not understand that these people or gays who represent them going around filing discrimination law suits for any reason for any reason under the sun are only causing a backlash and extreme reactions to their behavior not just in this country but around the world against gays.
    The LGBT is to blame for the rise of anti-gay laws in other countries as they're reacting to the rise of the "pushy" gay culture in America.. they can see the slippery slope and they want no part in it.. The pendulum has swung hard in the opposite direction.

    Forcing people to like or agree with the gay lifestyle will only galvanize and polarize people.. The LGBT should have learned a valuable lesson from this administration. What's happening to Obama-care and progressivism is evidence that ramming ideology down people's throat is not popular very long!!

  • DaveRL OGDEN, UT
    March 1, 2014 6:31 a.m.

    The article is correct that gays are not directly mentioned, but no matter how you sugar-coat it discrimination of any kind, for any reason is wrong. If your business doesn't want to serve American citizens or foreign tourist because it goes against your "religious beliefs" that's fine. It would perhaps make more sense to take your business to a different country, one that better fits your "religious beliefs", say maybe Russia or Uganda. In the USA everyone has non-discrimination civil rights and courtesies should be afforded to all.

  • Willem Los Angeles, CA
    March 1, 2014 6:20 a.m.

    Yes it was designed to denigrate the gay community including us LDS gay couples, thats exactly the way the Nazi party handled the Jews in Germany not too long ago.

  • AZEIR Phoenix, AZ
    March 1, 2014 6:13 a.m.

    The underlying premise of this bill and the reporter's argument is religion is under attack in Arizona and elsewhere. It isn't. That being said, the motivations for the Arizona bill were events that happened in other states with other laws that created protected classes (like gays) that cannot happen in Arizona. The legislature was solving a problem it didn't have.

    What not only the business community --around the country-- and others did was point out that needless, divisive poorly thought out laws (like AZ's earlier bill SB1070) that permit even the slightest possibility of discrimination or injustice against citizens is bad for business. Love, which some believe is the hallmark of religion, may make the world go around, but money greases the wheel.

  • Blue Salt Lake City, UT
    March 1, 2014 5:41 a.m.

    Everything about SB 1062, the national events that precipitated its writing, the candid statements made by its proponents while it was under discussion and the legal analysis of the likely consequences of its enactment, all made it abundantly clear that the purpose of the bill was to permit individuals, business and governments to discriminate against people on the basis of sexual orientation and hide their bigotry behind a mask of "religious freedom."

    This news article is a transparent and sadly desperate attempt to deny that reality.

  • John Kateel Salt Lake City, UT
    March 1, 2014 5:01 a.m.

    If this bill were to pass in Arizona, a Muslim could reject the business of a Mormon because to deny that Mohammed is the true prophet and to say that latter day prophets walk the Earth is blasphemy. A Unitarian in clear conscience could not serve a gun owner. A Catholic Walgreen's employee should be able to refuse to sell birth control and not be fired. A Jewish waitress at Red Lobster should kindly decline to place any order that contains shellfish. A Brahmin Hindu shopkeeper should be able to prevent a low caste dark skinned Hindu from be-fowling their purity by having their shadow fall upon their person. The list goes on. It is not about gays.

  • rightascension Provo, UT
    March 1, 2014 4:36 a.m.

    If there are businesses in Arizona that refuse service to couples who heterosexual activity the business owners find unacceptable -- that would make for an interesting article.

  • a_voice_of_reason Woods Cross, UT
    March 1, 2014 1:43 a.m.

    I still don't think the bill should even have to be considered. Since when does operating a private business in America mean you are compelled to provide services to individuals? Just as an example, would anyone shout "discrimination" to a baker who refused to bake a cake for a Klu Klux Klan meeting? While their behavior and organization is reprehensible, don't they have a right to assemble and a right to free speech? If so, then doesn't any "right to receive services" apply to them just as much as to gays & lesbians? This is far beyond a gay rights issue or even a religious liberty issue. A private business or individual should have no requirements to provide services to anybody! It makes no sense at all! You have to provide me a service or good and you have to take my money...the founding fathers are rolling over in their graves.

  • Janet Ontario, OR
    March 1, 2014 1:39 a.m.

    Refusing or perform professional services for anyone is, by definition, discrimination. Discrimination is the result of judgment. Jesus said, "Judge not, that ye be not judged."
    Refusing service is saying, "I do not deem you worthy of my service." I once took my white son and his African-American girlfriend to dinner in a small Texas city. The waitress was unfriendly, slammed down our plates, and treated us with as little respect as she could get away with. Had the restaurant refused to serve us, what could we have felt but animosity? How would that have helped anything? Whether the Arizona bill was intended to protect business people who judge gay people, or whether its intent was broader, it was a bill to protect bigotry, and bigotry is not generally compatible with Christian values.

  • Wilf 55 SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    March 1, 2014 1:13 a.m.

    Let's not be hyprocritical. Everybody knows what was behind the bill. Even the caption next to the picture of this very article says:

    "SB1062, a bill designed to give added protection from lawsuits to people who assert their religious beliefs in refusing service to gays"

    So it is about refusing service to people who are different. And that is unacceptable discrimination.

  • Two For Flinching Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 28, 2014 11:56 p.m.

    @ Upson Downs

    Owning a business is not a right, it's a privilege.

    @ Lovely Desert

    None of your religious beliefs have been trampled on. Please show me any religious teaching that says people who are different should be discriminated against......

  • venitar Provo, UT
    Feb. 28, 2014 11:41 p.m.

    And yet it is ok for minority groups to boycott any business because of religious or other beliefs. Ironic, don't you think?
    Leave the market place alone. No one is obliged to shop at any store, and any store should be allowed to limit its goods and/or services.

  • Concerned Huntington Beach, CA
    Feb. 28, 2014 11:17 p.m.

    It seems to me that Gays have decided to make put themselves in the position of being the victims all the time. Being gay is a lifestyle and a moral issue. Why should a person that doesn't wish to serve somebody be forced to. Every time there is a bill that sets up protection to religious values the courts and states cuts them down. This country will pay for the evil that is being called good. I guess Arizona needs to get a new governor.

  • Owen Heber City, UT
    Feb. 28, 2014 11:06 p.m.

    This headline encapsulates the whole debate.
    "To tell the truth is not merely to state the facts, but to leave a true impression." -- R.L. Stevenson. Was the Arizona bill about gays? Yes. Is the current debate "about the children?' No. Is it about states' rights? No. Is it so hard just to tell the truth? Most people just aren't comfortable with the fact that other people are attracted to the same gender.

  • El Chango Supremo Rexburg, ID
    Feb. 28, 2014 10:50 p.m.

    Chris B,

    I love reading your comments... except when it comes to BYU articles!

    You are always concise and to the point. Best Wishes...

    Go BYU :)

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 28, 2014 10:27 p.m.

    There are around a dozen other states all attempting this sort of thing though many have since been dropped. The primary motive, heavily mentioned even by people who support it, is to prevent lawsuits from gay people against photographers/florists/etc.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Feb. 28, 2014 10:13 p.m.

    If the bill wasn't written as an effort to enable religious based discrimination against gays, why was it written at all? It's pretty sad and cheap for people to try to run away from the original intent of this bill now that it's been called out.

  • DanO Mission Viejo, CA
    Feb. 28, 2014 10:08 p.m.

    "But the lack of any reference to gays in the bill apparently didn't stop critics."
    It didn't stop the proponents either.

  • Upson Downs Sandy, UT
    Feb. 28, 2014 9:55 p.m.

    Gay people continually whine and shout that their rights are being ignored. They cry and say they just want to be understood. Yet when it comes to the rights of a religious person, running a business, the gays say the business owner's rights don't matter. Why don't gay people just go to businesses that want their patronage and seek it. Leave the religious person's business alone and be tolerant and accepting of his/her rights. Basically the same thing you want. Take your business elsewhere..

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 28, 2014 9:48 p.m.

    I liked the proposal by one person I heard on this matter. If a cake baker for example is asked by a homosexual couple to bake a cake for their "wedding" and if the cake baker didn't want to, the baker should tell they their beliefs in no uncertain terms. Let the "couple" know what you think of homosexuality and that you support what God has said on the matter.

    Tell them you will bake them a cake but the proceeds will be given to a number of groups that support traditional marriage only.

    Then, obey the law and bake their cake. Give them their cake and thank them for supporting the defense of families.

    Problem solved!

  • LovelyDeseret Gilbert, AZ
    Feb. 28, 2014 9:38 p.m.

    This is a case where big business trampled over the freedom of religion. Big business bullied devoutly religious people.
    No one should be forced to do something that is against their basic religious beliefs. That is not freedom, that is the opposite.

  • Kate Hutch Kenmore, WA
    Feb. 28, 2014 9:36 p.m.

    The bill's intent was clarified by identifying those who supported it and what they said publicly.

  • Kalindra Salt Lake City, Utah
    Feb. 28, 2014 7:28 p.m.

    While it is true that the bill did not mention LGBT individuals or couples or discrimination, the debate surrounding the bill did. Including debate by the legislators supporting the bill.