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In Wake Of Arizona Veto, Similar Measures Considered In Northwest

Chantal Andrea

Amidst the debate over the now-vetoed Arizona bill that would have protected businesses that refuse to serve gays and others for religious reasons, gay rights groups in the Northwest say similar legislation could surface here.

In Oregon, a religious group is attempting to get a measure on this November's ballot that would allow people to refuse to participate in a same-sex ceremony if doing so would violate their religious beliefs.

"Participate" isn't defined but the group's attorney, Shawn Lindsey, says that could mean anything from supplying flowers to playing the harp. He says in that way it differs from the vetoed Arizona law which applied to any kind of business transaction, not just gay weddings.

But Peter Zuckerman of the group Oregon United For Marriage says allowing businesses to turn away gay couples seeking wedding services amounts to discrimination.

"Freedom means freedom for everyone, and it's wrong to treat people differently because of who they are and who they love."

The measure hasn't made the Oregon ballot yet.

In Idaho, two bills that allowed businesses to turn away gay customers are considered dead for this session. The sponsor withdrew the measures, citing concerns during public testimony. He says he wants to spend time to re-tweak the language.