Arizona’s Anti-Gay Bill Gets Pushback From Apple, Other High-Profile CompaniesBy: Josh Wolford - February 26, 2014
Apple has joined a host of high-profile businesses in urging Arizona Governor Jan Brewer to veto a controversial piece of legislation that would allow businesses to discriminate against the LGBT community on religious grounds.
The bill, Senate Bill 1062, amends sections of the Arizona statues to empower business owners to exercise what they would call “freedom of religion,” and what others would call anti-gay discrimination. The bill asserts that people have a fundamental right to express their religious beliefs freely, even if that includes refusing service to LGBT customers–as long as the act of discrimination is “motivated by a religious belief” and that belief is “sincerely held.” These business owners would basically be exempt from the “unreasonable burden” imposed by the state, in which “a person is prevented from using the person’s property in a manner that the person finds satisfactory to fulfill the person’s religious mission.”
Long story short, if your religion compels you to refuse service to LGBT customers, 1062 will make it a-ok in the eyes of the law.
The bill passed the state legislature late last week, and is now awaiting action from conservative Republican Governor Jan Brewer.
And according to Apple and a bunch of businesses with ties to Arizona, that action needs to be a veto in order to keep business thriving in the state.
NBC News confirms that Apple, along with companies like American Airlines and Marriott, have “issued letters and made phone calls” to Gov. Brewer urging a veto, saying that the law would be bad for business.
Apple made a similar argument that LGBT discrimination is bad for business in an amicus brief to the Supreme Court a year ago when the high court was debating the Defense of Marriage Act and the constitutionality of state same-sex marriage bans.
It’s not just businesses who are wary of the bill–prominent Republicans have publicly stated that they think Gov. Brewer should veto the measure. Just a few high-profile examples:
I hope Governor Brewer will veto #SB1062
— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) February 24, 2014
— Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) February 25, 2014
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) February 25, 2014
Even some Republican members of the Arizona Senate are having a change of heart and are now urging Gov. Brewer to veto the bill–a bill that they voted for.
Though it has strong support in the state from some conservative groups, it’s clear that the tide is turning against Senate Bill 1062–especially in the harshness of the national spotlight.
But what’s Apple’s concern here–specifically? What’s their skin in the game?
Apart from the handful of Apple stores located in the state, Apple also has a partially-completed manufacturing plant in Mesa. The plant will produce sapphire glass, which you may know as the scratch-resistant stuff that serves as the screen for your iPhones and iPads. The huge, 1.3 million sq. ft. facility is said to open up around 700 jobs in the area of the next couple of years.
— AZ Family (@azfamily) February 26, 2014
Tick-tock. Apple is waiting too. Though there’s no direct reports that Apple would even consider pulling out of the massive project, you’d have to imagine that the company, along with many others, would have serious reservations about investing heavily in a state that they feel has laws on the books that are not conducive to good business.
Image via Apple