SB1062: Latino leaders join fight against bill

PHOENIX - Both sides of the SB1062 debate continue to voice their opinions.

The “Religious Freedom" bill  - as many call it - would allow business owners to deny service to customers based on their religious beliefs.

Supporters say the bill protects the religious freedom guaranteed to every Arizonan. Opponents say the legislation would lead to businesses discriminating against people, such as those in same-sex unions

On Tuesday, Latino leaders stepped up saying the bill encourages discrimination.

Leaders say this is a fight they know well.

Back in 2010, the community fought back against Senate Bill 1070, a bill they say targets Latinos. Now they're backing this.

"The governor needs to veto," said Silvana Salcido Esparza.

As a business owner, she's usually focused on her restaurant, Barrio Café. But since she's also gay, she doesn't want to remain silent.

"We're moving forward, let's not move backwards. I have a right like everyone else. What message are we sending to the youth? What message are we sending to the world?" she said.

Esparza, who married her partner in New York, says her tax dollars count as much as anyone else's. And she'll continue to welcome anyone into her restaurant.

Supporters of the bill say it's been misinterpreted by waves of protesters.

Michael Salmon says supporters are afraid to speak out because they'll be ostracized.

"When religious people want the right to choose suddenly their prejudice, bigots, hypocrites or hateful. Instead of saying they have the right just like anyone else to choose."

For now, things are really at a standstill as everyone waits to see what Governor Brewer will do from here.

There are many people who say if the bill becomes law, they plan to fight it.

For now, Esparza says she'll continue her battle by providing all of her customers with good food.

"You can't conquer hate with hate, you have to conquer it with love," she said. "I think food is the way to people's hearts."

 

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