AZ residents react to Religious Freedom Bill passed

YUMA, Ariz. – Mississippi’s governor signed a “religious freedom bill” into law Tuesday.

The new change aims to support a business owner’s religious belief – allowing them to legally deny service to anyone whose sexual orientation they may not agree with.

“Basically says the state or its political subdivisions cannot discriminate against someone because of their deeply-held religious views,” Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant said.

It’s one of several anti-LGBT legislation making headlines across the country in recent weeks. A similar bill was vetoed in Arizona back in 2014. ABC 5 news spoke with two business owners who say the bill had merit and feel they are entitled to religious freedom.

An opinion with which Celina Beas disagrees, “They are human beings just like us. God loves them just as much as a person that is not gay. I really believe that businesses should allow gay people in their businesses.”

Currently Arizona businesses cannot discriminate against anyone, regardless of religious beliefs. Human resources professional Randal Etzler says a bill like the one passed in Mississippi shouldn’t be a factor when it comes to business.

“I can only speak to its job relevance and I cannot imagine a scenario in which someone’s orientation would be a relevant factor in determining the qualifications of a job,” said Etzler.

Some customers say they believe Arizona would be taking a step back from progression if it adopted the law.

“I hope that people are strong enough to stand up for everyone regardless of race, religion or anything. Discrimination should be a thing of the past,” Yuma resident Rebecca Treas said.

About The Author

Denelle Confair graduated with her Bachelors from Arizona State University Walter Cronkite School of Broadcast and Mass Communication. She got her first on air reporter job for the NBC affiliate in Montana. After her time there she reported for the NBC affiliate in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. In Texas she covered multiple stories on the Gulf Cartel and immigration. Now she says she's glad to be back in her home state of Arizona. In her free time she enjoys hiking and writing. For story ideas you can email her at or find her on Facebook.

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