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UPDATE – Late Wednesday, Governor Brewer vetoed the bill. Alluding to the legislation’s potential to undermine the state’s economy, she said, “My agenda is to sign into law legislation that advances Arizona.” No mention of the bill’s discriminatory content.
American and Marriott are among the companies and lawmakers that have come out against Senate Bill 1062, passed by the Arizona Senate and currently being reviewed by the state’s governor, Jan Brewer.
The bill would allow Arizona businesses to refuse service to customers on religious grounds, and is widely understood to be an attempt to allow discrimination against gays.
According to a Bloomberg report, American chief Doug Parker urged Brewer to veto the bill on economic grounds, citing its potential to deter convention business and dissuade companies from relocating to Arizona. “There is genuine concern throughout the business community that this bill, if signed into law, would jeopardize all that has been accomplished so far.”
Marriott also emphasized the economic impact of the bill. “While we have still not returned to pre-2008 occupancy and revenue levels, our Arizona properties have seen a slow and steady recovery in both leisure and business stays since the end of the recession. We have serious concerns that passage of SB 1062 would undermine — or worse, counteract — that progress. This legislation has the potential to subject our state to travel boycotts.”
But Marriott went beyond bottom-line concerns, addressing the underlying ethical issue as well:
At Marriott, we have worked hard to build an environment where every guest and employee feels welcome, safe and respected when they enter one of our hotels. Regardless of whether or not SB 1062 goes into effect, our internal policies have and will continue to prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, gender or sexual orientation.
(The full text of Marriott’s letter was published by Business Insider here.)
Apple, which is building a manufacturing plant in the Phoenix suburb of Mesa, is also on record as opposing the bill, as is the NHL, three Republican state senators, and all 13 Senate Democrats.
Governor Brewer has until Friday to sign the bill into law or veto it.
Reader Reality Check
If SB 1062 becomes Arizona state law, would you be more or less inclined to visit that state?
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