Gov. Jan Brewer has signed a bill that ensures Arizona workers won’t lose their professional licenses for denying services on religious grounds.
The bill is a broader version of the so-called conscience clause that Arizona and other states have recognized for pharmacists, physicians or other health care workers who decline to perform abortions or prescribe emergency contraceptives.
Proponents acknowledge there are no known incidents of faith-based discipline in Arizona. They say the bill is a reaction to cases in states such as Michigan where a student counselor was disciplined after refusing to work with a gay client because of her religious beliefs.
Republican Sen. Steve Yarbrough introduced the legislation, saying it’s “fundamentally wrong” that if “you don’t affirm the particular lifestyle, then your license is going to be at risk.”