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Arizona Passes Bill Allowing Businesses to Snub Gay Couples

2 minute read

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer is deciding whether or not to sign a bill allowing businesses to refuse service to gay couples in the name of religious freedom, after the controversial measure was passed this week by the Republican-controlled state legislature.

The bill was passed Thursday by the state House after the GOP-led Senate approved it Wednesday. It passed the Senate on a straight party-line vote, and all but three House Republicans voted for it, the Los Angeles Times reports. The measure would allow Arizona business owners to refuse to serve gay couples because of their religious beliefs. The bill’s sponsors, Republican Sens. Steve Yarbrough and Rep. Eddie Farnsworth, say that the bill protects the religious liberty of Arizona citizens. Opponents say it enables discrimination.

Arizona is just the latest state weighing whether or not businesses should be allowed to refuse service to gay couples. A similar measure in Kansas died in a legislative committee this week.

It is not yet clear whether Brewer, a Republican, will sign the bill into law, and she typically does not comment on legislation before she has made her decision. Calls to the governor’s office were not immediately returned Friday morning.

Democrats and gay rights activists are pushing for Brewer to veto the bill, calling it discriminatory and unconstitutional. State House Minority Leader Chad Campbell, who opposed the bill, tweeted:

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Write to Charlotte Alter at charlotte.alter@time.com