Arizona SB 1062 gay rights protests heat up - Tucson News Now

Arizona SB 1062 gay rights protests heat up

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(Source: CBS 5 News) (Source: CBS 5 News)
(Source: CBS 5 News) (Source: CBS 5 News)
(Source: CBS 5 News) (Source: CBS 5 News)
FLAGSTAFF, AZ (CBS5/AP) -

Dozens of residents in Flagstaff plan to protest legislation that would allow Arizona business owners to deny service to gay people on religious grounds.

The rally against Senate Bill 1062 is scheduled for 4 p.m. Sunday outside Flagstaff City Hall and city officials expected to attend include City Councilwoman Celia Barotz.

Students from Northern Arizona University plan to march at 3 p.m. from the campus to join the demonstration.

Gov. Jan Brewer is likely to decide next week whether to sign the bill. Supporters say it protects religious freedom. Opponents say it could harm the state's economy and image.

Protesters also plan to voice their opposition against House Bill 2192, which would ban immigrants in the country illegally from using any public resources such as public restrooms and roads.

"One of the reasons why this bill came to light was you had a photographer in a different state who was being sued because they would not officiate or take pictures at a gay wedding," explained Rep. Jon Kavanagh, R-23.

CBS 5 News' efforts Saturday to interview those supporting the bill mostly went unanswered, but Kavanagh appeared on national television explaining SB-1062.

"It would only apply where a person had sincerely held religious beliefs, and the burden is substantial," Kavanagh explained.

Others are weighing in. Arizona State Treasurer Doug Ducey, who is running for governor, says the bill should be vetoed. The Republican said Saturday that he would try to create some kind of consensus legislation to protect religious liberty.

Several Republican gubernatorial candidates have already made their voices heard on Senate Bill 1062.

Secretary of State Bennett and Mesa Mayor Scott Smith said Friday they don't support it. Bennett called it unnecessary and divisive, and Smith said it has the potential to negatively affect basic rights, including freedom of religion.

Attorney Christine Jones says 1062 should be withdrawn to avoid damaging the state's reputation and economic growth. Candidates Andrew Thomas and Frank Riggs didn't send statements.

Center for Arizona Policy President Cathi Herrod said in a statement:

"The attacks on SB 1062 show politics at its absolute worse. They represent precisely why so many people are sick of the modern political debate. Instead of having an honest discussion about the true meaning of religious liberty, opponents of the bill have hijacked this discussion through lies, personal attacks, and irresponsible reporting.  

"Our elected leaders have a fundamental duty to protect the religious freedom of every Arizonan, and that's what SB 1062 is all about.  

"Simply put, the fear-mongering from opponents is unrelated to the language of the bill, and proves that hostility towards people of faith is very real. It's a shame we even need a bill like this in America. But growing hostility against freedom in our nation, and the increasing use of government to threaten and punish its own citizens, has made it necessary.  

"I urge Governor Brewer to send a clear message to the country that in Arizona, everyone, regardless of their faith, will be protected in Arizona by signing SB 1062."

Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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