Arizona 'Religious Discrimination' Bill Could Hurt Economy, Business Leaders Say


An Arizona bill awaiting the governor's signature to become law that would insulate from legal challenges businesses that refuse goods or services to patrons on account of religious beliefs would harm the economy by exposing that state's businesses to legal challenges, a group of Arizona business leaders said.

In the wake of the passage of HB 1062/SB 2153, the Greater Phoenix Economic Council drafted a letter to Republican Gov. Jan Brewer Friday encouraging her to veto the bill. 

"The legislation places businesses currently in Arizona, as well as those looking to locate here, in potentially damaging risk of litigation, and costly, needless legal disputes," the letter said. 

The letter's authors—Alliance Bank of Arizona CEO James Lundy and Greater Phoenix Economic Council President and CEO Barry Broome—further argued that the law would "upset the current balance between the right of owners to manage their businesses, and the right of employees to refuse on religious grounds to follow company policy or management directions."

According to the letter, the law would further tarnish Arizona's image. In 2015, the state will host Super Bowl XLIX—an event that business interests say doesn't need the pall of negative publicity. The group also said it has been approached by four businesses that would locate elsewhere if the legislation is signed.

Earlier this month, Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter rejected the notion that passing a similar bill would affect Idaho's business interests.