SeaTac's Alaska Airlines joins business throng against Arizona bill

Staff writerFebruary 26, 2014 

Alaska Airlines president and chief executive Brad Tilden has joined a chorus of businesses that are urging Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer to veto a legislative bill that would allow businesses to refuse service to gays.

Tilden said he believes what he called "this divisive law" could negatively affect the tourism industry and have a chilling effect on business in Arizona. Alaska Airlines has 228 employees in Arizona. During the peak season, the airline operates 20 daily flights from Phoenix and Tucson to Seattle, Portland and Anchorage.

Both of Arizona's U.S. senators have asked the governor to veto the measure along with many Arizona business groups who fear that the state will lose conventions and tourist business, even next year's Super Bowl, if Brewer signs the bill.

The bill was promoted by conservative groups who say it is necessary to allow business people to exercise their religious rights without the fear of being sued.

Also joining in urging the governor's veto Wednesday was the Society of American Business Editors and Writers, which moved its headquarters to Arizona five years ago.

The journalism group said the bill is "offensive on its face, likely unconstitutional and would stand squarely against our association bylaws, which call for equal consideration to all people regardless of race, religion, and sexual orientation, among other factors."

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