Arizona bill allows businesses to discriminate against unmarried women, non-Christians

Experts are warning that a bill making its way through the Arizona legislature would allow businesses to discriminate against LGBT people, unmarried women or even non-Christians.

Republican state Sen. Steve Yarbrough has said that he introduced Senate Bill 1062 because a "modest clarification" was needed in the state's religious-freedom law, according to The Arizona Republic.

Among other things, the bill would expand those protected by the religious-freedom law for religious assemblies and institutions to "any individual, association, partnership, corporation, church, religious assembly or institution, estate, trust, foundation or other legal entity.”

The conservative advocacy group Center for Arizona Policy has been pushing the measure as a way to protect photographers and bakers from having to provide services for same-sex weddings, which are not even legal in Arizona.

And Yarbrough told The Seirra Vista Herald that the bill would allow hotel owners to refuse to rent rooms to LGBT people and would protect businesses that had a religious objection to hiring unmarried women.

But the lawmaker also insisted to The Arizona Republic that "[p]rohibited discrimination remains prohibited."

“In no way does this bill allow discrimination of any kind," he said.

A similar bill was passed by both the Arizona House and Senate last year before being vetoed by Gov. Jan Brewer (R), who refused to sign any bills until the legislature acted on expanding Medicaid.

Watch the video below from The Arizona Republic, broadcast Jan. 19, 2014.

[Photo credit: YouTube]

(h/t: Friendly Atheist)