Senate Bill 1062 – a first-hand account from the Arizona State Capitol

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer broke her silence on Senate Bill 1062 on Feb. 26, vetoing the bill that would have allowed businesses to deny service for religious reasons.

Days before her decision, protesters pounded the pavement at the Arizona State Capitol, urging Governor Jan Brewer to veto SB1062.

Protesters at the Arizona State Capitol on Feb. 24, urging Governor Jan Brewer to veto Senate Bill 1062.
Protesters at the Arizona State Capitol on Feb. 24, urging Governor Jan Brewer to veto Senate Bill 1062. Photo by Sami-Jo Roth / Arizona Cat’s Eye

Opponents of the bill, like State Senator Steve Farley, say it targets members of the LGBTQ community.

“It’s certainly anti American. As Americans, we have historically become the strongest nation in the country because we accept everyone,” Farley said.

Farley said he is disturbed the controversial bill passed both the Arizona State Senate and House.

“The bill was inspired by fear and the vote won by fear and we can’t run a state through fear. We can’t run a state through hate,” Farley said.

Republican Nancy Barto, a co-sponsor of the bill, said opponents have distorted the bill’s main meaning.

“It allows a person in a private dispute, apart from government action, to have standing in court when their deeply held religious beliefs are attacked,” Barto said.

Barto said the bill is about religion, not discrimination. She said the bill protects the beliefs of all religions.

“It protects a homosexual printer from having to be forced to provide or print signs for a Westborough Baptist Church protest. Or a Jewish caterer who would be forced through government control to provide some type of pork dishes,” Barto said.

Business leaders have spoken out; concerned the bill will affect the state’s economy and job growth.

Among those businesses is Rocco’s Little Chicago Pizzeria in Tucson. Rocco, the owner, put a controversial sign up in his window, which catapulted him and his business into the national spotlight. The sign said “We reserve the right to refuse service to Arizona Legislators.”

This sign in the window of Rocco's Little Chicago Pizzeria in Tucson received national attention after the owner put it up in response to the passage of SB1062 in the State Senate and House
This sign in the window of Rocco’s Little Chicago Pizzeria in Tucson received national attention after the owner put it up in response to the passage of SB1062 in the State Senate and House. Photo by Sami-Jo Roth / Arizona Cat’s Eye

Claire Yarborough, a Rocco’s customer, came to Rocco’s for the first time after a picture of the sign went viral.

“My wife said, actually, I would like to go to Rocco’s for lunch and I said sure, let’s go. If there’s any place in Tucson I’d like to give money to, it’s them,” Yarborough said.

Yarborough and her partner have been married for seven years. The couple said they are glad restaurants like Rocco’s are taking a stand.

“I think it’s wonderful because it feels like we are being supported. It feels like we are not the only people that can go, hey this isn’t right,” Yarborough said.

Brewer held a press conference on Feb. 26, and announced that she had vetoed the controversial bill.

“I sincerely believe that Senate Bill 1062 has the potential to create more problems than it purports to solve,” Brewer said.

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