Hispanic Lawyers To Scrap Arizona Convention Over Anti-Gay Bill

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A major legal organization plans to pull its 2015 convention from Phoenix, Arizona, over a bill that would allow businesses to deny services to LGBT people on the basis of religious faith.

The Hispanic National Bar Association said in a statement Wednesday that its board of governors voted to abandon plans to hold its national convention in Phoenix. The organization is among the first groups to cancel a large event in the state over concerns about the bill, known as SB 1062.


“As a national association of lawyers committed to promoting the ideals of equal protection, equal opportunity, tolerance, and inclusiveness, it is imperative that we speak up and take immediate action in the presence of injustice,” HNBA National President Miguel Alexander Pozo said.

Republican Gov. Jan Brewer has come under pressure to veto SB 1062 from high-ranking GOP officials and large corporations, who say that the proposal could give Arizona a negative image that would hurt its business climate.

The HNBA represents over 100,000 Hispanic lawyers, judges and other legal professionals nationwide.

National Hispanic groups launched boycotts of Arizona after the state passed a law in 2010 that allowed local law enforcement officials to check the immigration status of people they suspected were in the U.S. illegally. The state lost $141 million from cancelled conventions alone in the following months, according to a study commissioned by the Center for American Progress.


The Super Bowl is slated to be played in Glendale, Ariz., next year, and the host committee has come out against SB 1062. Last year’s Super Bowl, played in East Rutherford, N.J., was projected to generate $550 million to $600 million in local economic activity.

Brewer plans to meet with various supporters and opponents of the bill before she decides whether to sign or veto it. She has until Saturday to make a decision.


Jordan Fabian is Fusion's politics editor, writing about campaigns, Congress, immigration, and more. When he's not working, you can find him at the ice rink or at home with his wife, Melissa.

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