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State Senator Al Melvin Defends SB 1062 Amid Increasing Protests Against the Law

While most Arizona business leaders and politicians are urging the governor to veto SB 1062 at least one state legislator is standing by his vote. As Arizona Public Radio’s Parker Olson reports, Senator Al Melvin took to the national airwaves to defend the bill.

Sen. Al Melvin voted in favor of SB 1062, a bill that allows business owners to deny services to anyone based on religious beliefs. He joined CNN’s Anderson Cooper to explain why he thinks the bill should become law.

“Well, the bottom line for us and those who voted for it, and it was a majority in both chambers, is it’s as basic as religious freedom,” Melvin said.

Cooper pressed the senator to explain why the bill is necessary considering there are currently no state laws against discrimination of the LGBT community.

“Under Arizona law, sexual orientation is not included in antidiscrimination legislation. Correct?” asked Anderson.

“Yes,” Melvin said.

“So, it’s legal, you can fire somebody for being gay already. Correct?” asked Anderson.

“We don’t want that to happen here, that’s not my understanding,” Melvin said.

“Right, but it can happen,” Anderson said.

“And I don’t know of anybody that would advocate that or stand for it,” Melvin said.

Gov. Brewer has indicated how she will act on the legislation. She has until the end of the week to either veto the bill or take Sen. Melvin’s advice and make it law.

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