Protests against Arizona bill fill the streets of Tucson - Tucson News Now

Protests against Arizona bill fill the streets of Tucson

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Calls to action came from a crowded lot outside LGBT advocacy center Wingspan Friday afternoon just before the mass of about 150 took to the streets against SB 1062.

"As the only open gay LGBT member of the state House of Representatives, it was really, I was really saddened and really appalled to watch the votes be cast on these bills.  To create a sanction on discrimination in our state is unArizonan and unAmerican," said Democratic State Representative Demion Clinco, (D) LD 2 for Tucson.  Clinco said that the bill that permits businesses to refuse to serve lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender members of the community based on the religious beliefs of that business will hurt the state's image and business environment.

And businesses are speaking out.  Rocco's Little Chicago Pizzeria on Broadway posted a sign that said it reserved the right to refuse service to legislators.  Cafe Passe on Fourth Avenue also posted a sign to make clear that the whole community is welcome.

"I'm also a consumer and a customer.  But, I happen to be a business owner and I don't feel represented.  I think it is shameful and embarrassing," said Cafe Passe owner Sabine Blaese.

The crowd marched down Fourth Avenue, through downtown to the state office building, were the governor's Tucson office is, even though she was not there.  The bill should be on her desk early next week.  But the march was a message that a bill that allows businesses to refuse service based on their religious beliefs should not be signed into law.

"This has been a difficult conversation for us too, and there are parts of the church, especially outside of America that are still struggling with this, but when it gets down to the bottom line, it all becomes about human rights," said Rev. Steve Keplinger, rector for Grace St. Paul's Episcopal Church.

"When legislation, laws like this come into play, it's extremely disappointing because all community members, all people, should be treated with integrity and dignity," said Wingspan executive director Carol Grimsby.

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