The “anti-discrimination” bills, SB 1249 and HB 2546, introduced today in the Arizona Legislature are unnecessary and create a host of problems.

These bills undermine constitutionally guaranteed freedoms of speech and religion, threaten women’s equality and privacy, and harm small businesses:

  • No exemptions are provided for houses of worship, religious organizations, and religious schools, thereby denying the free exercise of religion guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and the Arizona Constitution.
  • The bills would force women’s shelters, locker rooms, showers and restrooms to admit men who identify as women. Further, a women’s shelter for victims of domestic violence would be required to hire a man that identifies as a woman.
  • Small businesses that serve all customers but do not communicate all messages would be forced to choose between their livelihood and their beliefs, thereby denying free speech rights guaranteed under both federal and state constitutions.

The repeated announcements of businesses moving to Arizona point to our favorable economic climate. The lack of bills like SB 1249 and HB 2546 are clearly not harming Arizona’s economic growth. Numerous business rankings of top states for business further show that these laws are not necessary for a strong economic climate.

Nondiscrimination laws are supposed to shield people from unjust discrimination, but these types of bills are being used throughout the country as a sword against individuals and organizations that have a historic understanding of sexuality and gender.

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