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Josh Kredit, an attorney for the Center of Arizona Policy which helped draft the legislation, said it wouldn't add any new substantive legal rights for business owners.
"We are clarifying the protection we thought existed. We're not saying you have carte blanche to do whatever you want," Kredit said.
Religious groups were split. Kredit's group is evangelical Christian, and the Arizona Catholic Conference backs the bill. The Episcopal Diocese of Arizona opposes it.
About 250 protesters gathered outside the state capitol Friday, holding signs with messages such as "This is Ridiculous" and "What About Love Thy Neighbor?" Another protest was planned in Tucson, where a march to Brewer's southern Arizona office was planned.
Meanwhile, Republican Secretary of State Ken Bennett issued a statement calling the bill "an unnecessary measure to protect a God-given right already assured by the Constitution."
After hearing that the legislation was approved, Rocco DiGrazia, owner of Rocco's Little Chicago Pizzeria in Tucson, put up a sign on a window Thursday night that reads "We reserve the right to refuse service to Arizona legislators."
DiGrazia calls the bill's approval "appalling."
DiGrazia, who grew up Catholic but doesn't follow any religion now, said he cares more about dishing out pizza to customers — gay or straight. He isn't sure if he'll follow what's on his sign.