Religious freedom or anti-gay? Fil-Ams weigh in on controversial bill

By Fleur Magbanua-Mansur, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Posted at Mar 03 2014 09:52 AM | Updated as of Mar 03 2014 05:52 PM

PHOENIX, AZ – Even after Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoed Senate Bill 1062, a law that would have allowed businesses to refuse service to gays and lesbians if it goes against their religious beliefs, some political experts said this is not likely to end the religious freedom movement in America.

Similar laws are being considered in other states – Georgia, Idaho, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Colorado, Kansas, Maine, Tennessee and Utah.

Donald Catedral, a Filipino who supports the bill, reminds people that this is a movement for religious freedom – not an attack against gays and lesbians.

He stressed, “It’s is not anti-gay law. I am not anti-gay. We tend to forget the rights of Christians. We do have rights.”

But other Filipino-Americans said the bill ultimately promotes discrimination against members of the LGBT community, something that should not be tolerated in this day and age.

“This is the 21st century. A lot of us came to America because of the freedom and liberties that we enjoy in this country,” Marie Cunning said.

Some Filipino business owners said religion should not necessarily be a factor in running a business.

“I don’t look at who they are — if they’re Black, White, gay or lesbian. As long as they are putting money into my business, that’s what’s important,” Jeff Delgado said.

For her part, Brewer said she had to veto SB 1062 because it did not address specific dangers to religious freedom. She said she’s confident she made the right decision – as this controversial bill could divide Americans in ways we cannot even imagine.