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 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.”