An Arizona Senator has claimed that he does not know any residents of his state who would discriminate against anyone.
Senate Bill 1062 would prevent the state from taking action against individuals and businesses who refuse services to people or groups based on their religious beliefs if such enforcement would “substantially burden” the free exercise of their religion.
The bill was given final approval by the legislature on Friday, but State Governor Jan Brewer has not said whether she will sign it into law.
The comments came from Arizona Senator Al Melvin, who spoke to openly-gay broadcaster Anderson Cooper on Monday about the bill.
Cooper asked Melvin whether he thought the bill might also be used to discriminate against other people such as divorced or single mothers.
“Who would discriminate them?” Melvin replied. “I’ve never heard of discriminating against people like that. I never have. I don’t know where you’re getting your hypotheticals from, Sir. … You know, all of the pillars of society are under attack in the United States: The family, the traditional family, traditional marriage, mainline churches, the Boy Scouts, you name it.”
He went on to say that he did not know an Arizona resident who would discriminate against “a fellow human being.”
“Really? Discrimination doesn’t exist in Arizona?” Cooper asked – noting discrimination taking place in his home state of New York.
“Well, maybe you ought to move to Arizona,” Melvin responded. “We’re more people-friendly here, apparently.”