Apple Asks Arizona Governor To Veto Bill That Would Let Businesses Refuse Service To Gay Customers

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has a few days to decide whether to veto or approve SB 1062, a piece of legislation that would allow businesses in the state to refuse service to a customer based on religious grounds. Following pleas from big players in the travel industry, Apple is the latest to ask the governor to put an end to the legislation.

A rep for the electronics giant confirmed to the WSJ.com Law Blog that it has contacted Gov. Brewer to lend its voice to those who have already come out against the bill.

Both Marriott and American Airlines have already called for the Arizona legislature to rethink SB 1062 [PDF], fearing there may be a backlash against tourism to the state if the bill passes.

Apple’s inclusion in this group is notable not just because it sells a lot of iPhones and iPads. It recently announced plans to open a component manufacturing plant in the Mesa area that would mean around 2,000 jobs.

SB 1062 expands the current definition of those who can claim expression of religious freedom as a defense from “a religious assembly or institution” to “any individual, association, partnership, corporation, church, religious assembly or institution, estate, trust, foundation, or other legal entity.”

The bill’s primary intention was to prevent legal disputes over businesses that choose to not serve customers because of their sexual orientation. In recent years, there have been numerous instances of retailers in the U.S. not wanting to sell flowers to gay customers or bake wedding cakes for same-sex marriages.

Even some who support that particular form of discrimination are concerned that the vague wording of the law could lead to anyone using any religious defense to refuse service to any customer.

Last week, Tucson pizzeria Rocco’s made national headlines when it demonstrated its feelings about SB 1062 with a sign in the window that read “We Reserve the Right to Refuse Service to Arizona Legislators.”

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  1. furiousd says:

    I see this as a nondiscrimination law for the government. I think private businesses should not be forced by the government to to serve or not serve whomever they please for any reason or no reason. Whether it be based on race, hair color, gender, body shape, or being a legislator. Certainly establishments supported with public funds should come under different rules, but a private business owner should not have to live in fear that their actions will be interpreted as discriminatory, nor should their intentionally discriminatory actions be illegal in and of themselves. Consumers have the power to know which businesses they don’t like (think about the Chik-Fil-A thing that went down a year or two ago) and choose to patronize them or not. I don’t want to go someplace I’m not welcome and give money to someone that may hate me inside but wear a smile on their face because the government might force them out of business if they don’t celebrate my diversity.

    • RupturedDuck says:

      Is your desire to make money at any cost trump human decency and respect? Your self-entitlement is not conducive to to what we call a society.

    • SuperSpeedBump says:

      You know, I do see your point. I would much rather know which people I don’t agree with upfront so I can never do business with them.

      But I do still believe that this law is the wrong way to go about something like this. Instead of the right to refuse service, I could totally see the right to identify one’s beliefs (in a polite manor) in public so others can make a fair purchasing decision.

      And if Arizona passes this law, they will never see a dollar of my money.

    • SirJanes says:

      Should the customers of businesses who want to discriminate be allowed to access said business on streets paved with government funds?

    • PhillyDom says:

      This bill doesn’t just allow bigots to refuse service at retail establishments. This bill would allow Hobby Lobby to refuse to cover contraception in its health plan. (The company has a case pending with the U.S. Supreme Court on this issue.)

      Let’s say you work for a business owned by a Christian Scientist. Under this law, s/he could deny all health care coverage, because s/he believes only in prayer as a cure for illness.

      A fundamentalist Christian could refuse to hire a single mother because her “immorality” violates his religious beliefs. This bill would allow that.

      This bill basically allows any claim of religious belief to trump any law. Arizona would effectively become a theocracy.

  2. CommonC3nts says:

    This cannot override the commerce clause so their law wont matter.
    Federal law trumps state law.