WEST HOLLYWOOD (CBSLA.com) — Gays and lesbians in West Hollywood Wednesday reacted to Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s veto of a controversial measure that would have made it legal in that state for store owners to discriminate against gay people on religious grounds.
KCAL9’s Rachel Kim went to West Hollywood, a city with a large gay population, to gauge reaction about the veto of SB 1062.
The controversial bill set off a national debate about rights, discrimination, religious beliefs, civil rights, gay rights and many asked if America was revisiting Jim Crow laws.
Kim spoke to patrons of the Abbey, one of WeHo’s most popular bars and restaurants, as well as its owners and managers.
The Abbey has put a photo montage of anti-gay lawmakers at its door and says they are not welcome and won’t be let in.
They told Kim they don’t actually expect the lawmakers to show up at the bar, but they wanted to send a message — to show what it’s like to be discriminated against.
The Arizona bill, if passed, would have allowed business owners to turn away any customers that conflicted with their religious beliefs and protected them from lawsuits if they did.
Opponents of the bill — including three senators who originally backed it — argued that passage of the measure would open the door to discrimination and hurt Arizona’s bottom line. The NFL threatened to take the Super Bowl elsewhere if the measure passed.
Gay rights advocates applauded the veto.
“It’s a great move, a great move,” said activist Christopher Tearne. “I think the pressure that was put on it, people have been campaigning for days now. There was such a strong, negative reaction to it.”
Supporters of the bill argued it was only designed to protect a person’s freedom of religion and freedom of speech.
Pastor Nick Reed of Victory Baptist Church in Burbank said people should be able to exercise those.
“At the end of the day, we do understand that God’s word gives us very clear teachings on topics like this. We as a Christian, as a Bible-believing church, want to follow those guidelines above the opinions or political correctness of our society,” Reed said.