The Arizona Effect: Other states are still in danger of discriminatory legislation

By : Samantha Rosenthal
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On Feb. 26, there was a collective sigh of relief as Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed the Senate Bill 1062, which brought a national spotlight for its use of religious rights to discriminate against LGBTs in refusing service to them. Brewer, throughout the week, received criticism from big businesses like Apple and even big names like GOP Sen. John McCain. Even Gov. Rick Scott released a statement saying he would have vetoed an Arizona-style anti-gay bill if it were passed through Florida Legislature.

In other states, similar bills have been also sent back to committees, withdrawn or flat out failed to make it pass legislation.

Here is the go-to guide on anti-gay religious freedom bills and how their status played out:

Keep an eye out on these proposed bills:

Georgia: This state has been making some waves since the Arizona bill was vetoed with similar laws passing through both Senate and House. Georgia’s Legislature introduced the Preservation of Religious Freedom Act, very similar to Arizona’s vetoed SB 1062. The proposed bill will allow for companies to bypass the state law and allows businesses to deny or refuse service to someone based on preserving religious freedoms. There has also been an almost identical bill, SB 377, introduced to Senate, but has been stalled and not scheduled for a floor vote.

Idaho: HB 426 and HB 427 are both under consideration. HB 426 would protect people who would make decisions based on religious beliefs—including denying service to someone. HB 427 gives people protection against legal claims made against them in cases involving religious freedoms. The bill has been sent back to the committee.

Kansas: The anti-LGBT bill, HB 2453, was killed, not even making it to Senate. The Senate is now focusing on HB 2203, a religious bill passed through Legislature a year ago and was discussed at the March 6 hearing on “religious freedom” at the Senate.

Mississippi: SB 2681 advanced from its House Judiciary B Civil Subcommittee on March 4 and now goes to consideration in front of the full House. If amendments were adopted, this Arizona-style bill would allow for individuals and businesses to discriminate. Lance Bass is currently promoting a movement with the Humans Rights Campaign to stop this bill.

Missouri: A boot-heel area representative pitched SB 916. The bill will add civil protections to the state’s existing “Religious Freedom Restoration Act.”

Oklahoma: There is an Arizona-style bill, SB 1846, that is still being drafted and is currently pending.

Oregon: Oregon Family Council sponsored the “Protect Religious Freedoms Initiative,” allowing private businesses to deny services that would support same-sex marriage. They’re pushing to get it on the November election ballot.

Withdrawn or rejected:
Arizona
Colorado
Hawaii
Maine
Nevada
Ohio
South Dakota
Tennessee
Utah

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