February 25, 2014 at 9:38 am EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Evans says Ariz. should lose Super Bowl over anti-gay measure
Jack Evans, Washington Blade, gay news

D.C. Council member and mayoral candidate Jack Evans said Arizona should not get the 2015 Super Bowl if the state’s anti-gay law is enacted. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

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.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

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