With mounting opposition to Arizona’s so-called “Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” today the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) called on other states considering such measures to abandon their own “license to discriminate” bills. In addition to Arizona, similar bills have been introduced in Georgia, Kansas, Maine, Missouri, Ohio, Oregon (proposed ballot measure), South Dakota and Tennessee. Many of these bills would not only permit discrimination against LGBT people, but against any group not covered by federal public accommodations law, such as women and veterans.
“These bills are bad for business, bad for the LGBT community and bad for all Americans,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “These bills have nothing to do with faith and everything to do with shameful discrimination. Make no mistake about it; states that do enact these bills into law will face less investment, fewer jobs and a reputation for standing on the wrong side of history.”
In Arizona, a diverse collection of business, faith and civil rights groups have opposed the law. PetSmart, the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and a slew of travel and tourism businesses joined with bishops of the Methodist, Episcopal and Evangelical Lutheran churches in opposing the law.
“If you want your state to become a pariah for business, then these laws are just the thing for you,” added Griffin. “With corporations showing they will not stand for discriminatory laws, any state that wants to attract investment, grow their economies or host conventions and major sporting events should dismiss these efforts out of hand.”
Given that most state legislatures are near the beginning of their sessions, it is possible that additional bills may be introduced in the coming weeks. Already, efforts in Maine and Tennessee have not made it past key legislative hurdles.