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Opinion

NFL could pull Super Bowl if Arizona religious rights bill passes

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,NFL,Arizona,Ashe Schow,Super Bowl

Call it what you want -- anti-gay or religious rights -- but if Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signs a controversial bill, you might not be calling Arizona the home of the 2015 Super Bowl.

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act, S.B. 1062, is the current controversy du jour out of Arizona, and the National Football League is with the opposition.

“Our policies emphasize tolerance and inclusiveness and prohibit discrimination based on age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation or any other improper standard,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told USA Today. “We are following the issue in Arizona and will continue to do so should the bill be signed into law, but will decline further comment at this time.”

The Arizona Super Bowl Host committee released a statement saying it disagreed with the bill and its impact on Arizona’s economy.

“On that matter we have heard loud and clear from our various stakeholders that adoption of this legislation would not only run contrary to that goal but deal a significant blow to the state's economic growth potential,” a committee spokesperson said. “We do not support this legislation.”

Arizona is currently slated to host the 2015 Super Bowl at Glendale’s University of Phoenix Stadium.

Opponents of the bill contend that it will allow Arizona businesses to refuse service to homosexual customers.

But, as with most bills in Congress, the attack ads have little to do with the actual legislation.

Proponents of the bill claim that no, businesses will not have carte blanche to refuse service to anyone they disagree with based on religious grounds.

Specifically, proponents claim that there is nothing in Arizona’s current laws that prevent businesses from discriminating against anyone — and yet, strangely enough, discrimination isn’t happening.

Apparently, businesses in Arizona have wanted to discriminate but have just been waiting for a bill to allow them to do so — which this bill does not. Also, what business would quietly wait to discriminate?

“Business owners do not want to deny service to gays,” the Christian Post wrote. “This is not because they fear government sanction. Rather, it is because: 1) Their religious, ethical or moral beliefs tell them it is wrong to deny service; and/or, 2) the profit motive — turning away customers is no way to run a business.”

Sounds like the opponents — and the NFL — need to take a knee.

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