Apple urges veto of Arizona 'antigay' bill

The bill faces a decision by the governor of Arizona just as Apple is gearing up its new sapphire plant in the city of Mesa.

Apple

Apple has added its name to the list of groups eager to help quash Arizona's controversial religious freedom bill.

An unnamed person from Apple spoke on the phone with Gov. Jan Brewer, asking her to veto SB1062, Brewer spokesman Andrew Wilder confirmed to the Arizona Capitol Times on Monday. Apple also confirmed the conversation, the Times added.

Apple's request that the governor veto the bill carries some weight. The iPhone maker is set to officially open a sapphire-producing factory in Mesa, an operation that would employ 700 people and create 1,300 construction and management jobs, the governor's office said last November.

"Apple is indisputably one of the world's most innovative companies and I'm thrilled to welcome them to Arizona," Brewer said in a statement at the time. "Apple will have an incredibly positive economic impact for Arizona and its decision to locate here speaks volumes about the friendly, pro-business climate we have been creating these past four years."

In opposing the bill, Apple joins a chorus of other groups who want to keep that "friendly, pro-business climate" alive.

The Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Arizona Technology Council, the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, and the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce have all spoken out against the bill, the Arizona Capitol Times said. The Arizona Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, and the Greater Phoenix Leadership have also urged the governor to veto the bill.

Condemning the bill as antigay, opponents say it would give businesses ammunition to use their religious beliefs to deny service to gays. Supporters of the bill say it's designed to protect the religious freedom of business owners.

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