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Anderson Cooper Tears into AZ Pol over ‘Anti-Gay’ Law: ‘You’re Seriously Blaming the Media?!’

Cooper Rips AZ Pol over 'Anti-Gay' Law: ‘You're Seriously Blaming the Media?!'

Anderson Cooper took on Arizona state senator Al Melvin Monday night over the state’s proposed legislation to allow businesses to exercise their religious freedom to discriminate against LGBT citizens. Melvin insisted, “It’s nothing more and nothing less than protecting religious freedom in our state.” Cooper noted how Arizona doesn’t expressly prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and grilled Melvin on why, then, they would need to reaffirm a right that isn’t under threat in the state in the first place.

Cooper asked, “Can you give me a specific example of someone in Arizona who’s been forced to do something against their religious belief or successfully sued because of their faith?”

Melvin said he could not, arguing the bill is “preemptive.” Cooper asked him if, hypothetically, a Catholic loan officer could refuse to give a loan to a divorced woman. Melvin told Cooper he was being “far-fetched,” insisting, “I don’t know of anybody in Arizona who would discriminate against a fellow human being.”

When Cooper pointed out that Arizona businesses (including the state Chamber of Commerce) oppose the bill, Melvin said it’s “because there has become a media frenzy on this.” Cooper incredulously asked, “You’re seriously blaming the media on this?! Oh, come on.”

Cooper then pressed Melvin on whether he believes firing someone for being gay or lesbian is discrimination. Melvin did not give a direct answer, telling Cooper, “I know you’re trying to set me up, and I’m not going to stand for it, sir.”

Watch the video below, via CNN:

[photo via screengrab]

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