D.C. Council member and mayoral candidate Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) is calling on the National Football League to move the 2015 Super Bowl out of Arizona if the governor signs legislation named by critics as the “turn away the gay” bill.
Gay rights advocates and the ACLU have said if the bill is enacted into law, it would allow businesses to deny services to gay, lesbian or transgender customers on grounds that doing business with them violates their deeply held religious beliefs.
“It is unconscionable to think that America’s largest and most celebrated sporting event could be held in a state that discriminates as a matter of law,” Evans said in a statement released on Tuesday.
“Stadiums bring together thousands of people of diverse backgrounds by hosting events like the Super Bowl and are designed to boost local businesses and create jobs,” he said. “Arizona doesn’t deserve that benefit if its leaders single out the LGBT community and their supporters by declaring they are not welcomed.”
Gov. Jan Brewer (R-Ariz.) has said she has yet to decide whether to sign the measure, which the Arizona Legislature approved last week.
Although the bill doesn’t mention the words “gay,” or “sexual orientation,” it expands the state’s definition of the exercise of religion to allow an individual, a religious group or business to deny services based on religious belief. Opponents believe the bill would lead to discrimination against transgender people as well as gays and lesbians.