Arizona stirs national controversy with latest legislation - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Arizona stirs national controversy with latest piece of legislation

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A sign at Totally Awesome Printing in Bullhead City, AZ, hangs in protest of SB 1062. (FOX5) A sign at Totally Awesome Printing in Bullhead City, AZ, hangs in protest of SB 1062. (FOX5)

State legislators in Arizona have once again stirred up national controversy after the passage of Senate Bill 1062, authorizing the free exercise of religion.

Opponents say it directly discriminates against the gay community.

FOX5 traveled to Bullhead City, AZ, on  Friday, and spoke with local businesses on the issue. 

"There is so much that we do. It's a slap in the face for our elected officials to come back with a law like this to say that we're half a citizen," said Louie Fernandez, owner of Totally Awesome Printing.

Fernandez and business partner Doug Lamdreth have been in a relationship for 13 years, and business owners in Bullhead City for 10 years.

They're not sure the bill that was passed Thursday would be of any use to area businesses.

"I don't think there will be," said Fernandez. "Unfortunately, what it will open the door to is hate crime."

An example of the use of S.B. 1062 would be to allow a wedding photographer to refuse service for the marriage of a same-sex couple based on his/her religious beliefs. That photographer could not be sued for discrimination.

"I don't see this as an attack in so far as those who believe you're protecting your right to practice your religion and not engage in a contract," said Arizona state representative Adam Kwasman.

Protests took place against the bill Friday.

Fernandez and Lamdreth posted a sign inside their business with their own feelings on the topic. It reads, "We reserve the right in Arizona to refuse service [to] bigots and Arizona Legislators." 

Patty Dion is also a Bullhead City business owner who is heterosexual.

"Our legislators need to look around and see the big picture with where our country is going with the gay and lesbian community," said Dion. "Everybody is welcome in our business, in our establishment, and it will always be that way."

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has five days to either veto or sign the bill into law.

Brewer has vetoed similar legislation in the past, but does not comment on the pending legislation.

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