CNN’s “AC360” host Anderson Cooper conducted an interview with Arizona Sen. Al Melvin on Monday. The senator voted in favor of the state’s controversial SB 1062 bill, a bill considered anti-gay because it’s protection of religious freedom in ways support discrimination against member of the LGBT community. According to a report by KTAR.com on Feb. 24, Cooper blasted Melvin for his support of the bill.
Melvin, who is also a gubernatorial candidate, held his own in the interview as he maintained that the bill was in favor of religious freedom and not a form of anti-gay legislature. Although three senators who initially voted in for or the bill have now asked Gov. Jan Brewer to veto it, Melvin is one who is sticking to his guns.
In the interview he admitted that he couldn’t think of an instance where the “religious freedom” it protects was under attack, but basically blamed the media for blowing it up into a bigger issue.
“There has become a media frenzy on this that has cost other candidates for governor,” Melvin said.
Cooper, through objectified questioning, challenged the definition of the law, as it would pertain to divorced or unwed mothers who could also be turned away due to the protection of “religious freedom.”
Melvin maintained that he didn’t know of such cases in response to Cooper, saying “it’s like you’re starting a cottage industry of perceived and made-up discrimination that don’t exist here.”
After more back and forth where the senator showed glimpses of frustration, he went on to complain that institutions like marriage and the Boy Scouts were “under attack” and refused to acknowledge multiple occasions where workplace discrimination was possible based on sexuality.
Anderson Cooper then dug into the senator more on the subject of discrimination.
“Your going to be governor of gay and lesbian people, and you can’t even go on the record and say if a gay or lesbian person is fired simply for being gay or lesbian, that’s discrimination? You can’t even make that leap and say, ‘Yeah, that would be discrimination.’”
Melvin’s response to Cooper was again, that he has never heard of such cases.
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