by Lisa A. Grimaldi | February 25, 2014
Visit Phoenix and Marriott International are urging Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer to veto SB1062,  a bill that would allow business owners -- as long as they assert their religious beliefs -- to deny service to gay and lesbian customers. The bill was passed 33-27 by the state House of Representatives; it is slated to go to the governor tomorrow (Thursday, Feb. 26).

In a letter to the governor, Steve Moore, president and CEO of Visit Phoenix, said, "We believe that the limited intent of SB 1062 is not worth the negative repercussions it would cause for Arizona. It is not our place to parse the intent of the bill, but we are convinced it will create problems for our rebounding visitor and meetings industry. The perception that any visitor might be denied service in our state would tarnish Phoenix's appeal as a convention and leisure destination. Convention groups are composed of diverse memberships, and meeting professionals whose job it is to identify convention destinations put great importance on maximizing attendance. Meeting professionals are our largest customers, and in the span between the bill's passage and today, numerous planners have told us SB 1062 presents a huge impediment to bringing their business to Arizona. Simply put, the perceptions created by SB 1062 give visitors a reason not to choose Arizona."

Two Marriott corporate executives, Steve Hart, area vice president for Arizona, and Thomas J. Maloney, director of company affairs, similarly requested that the governor turn down the bill because of the "profound negative impacts on the hospitality industry in Arizona and on the state's overall economic climate for years to come."

Copies of both letters, along with a statement from Visit Phoenix, can be viewed here.