Yesterday, hundreds of people gathered outside Flagstaff City Hall in protest of the Arizona state legislature’s passage of SB 1062. As Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports, the protest was organized by two current members of the Flagstaff City Council.
Organizers estimated that nearly 500 people were on hand to voice opposition to the law that would allow businesses in Arizona to deny services to gay people on religious grounds. Flagstaff City Councilwoman, Celia Barotz, who helped organize the protest along with Vice Mayor Coral Evans, was amazed with the large crowd in attendance.
“I think this is a true testament to the values of the Flagstaff community. We are a welcoming, inclusive place and we think that SB 1062 should be vetoed and our state legislature should spend its time working on things that really matter to people like education and creating jobs.”
Last year, the Flagstaff City Council passed an ordinance that outlawed discrimination on the basis sexual orientation and gender identity in the city.
Kathryn Jim, president of the Northern Arizona Pride Association, also opposes SB 1062 and is calling for its veto.
“SB 1062, it’s just a wrong statement for Arizona. We welcome everybody here in Flagstaff, and we always have been. And that’s one thing I always tell everybody. I even think I gave a quote to CNN. I told them, ‘We are family at 7,000 feet.’ And right now with all these people standing here it shows that we support one another especially when it comes to equality.”
Critics of SB 1062 say that, along with the law being discriminatory against gays and lesbians, it will also have a chilling effect economically for Arizona. Proponents of the law disagree, claiming SB 1062 is an attempt to protect those with sincerely held religious beliefs. SB 1062 now awaits Gov. Jan Brewer’s signature or veto.