News Column

Hispanic Bar Assn. Pulls Convention From Arizona

February 26, 2014

Staff Reports --

hispanic lawyer
The Hispanic National Bar Association has pulled its annual convention from Phoenix (file photo)

The Hispanic National Bar Association has pulled its 2015 annual convention from Phoenix in response to legislation that would make it legal for Arizona businesses to discriminate against the LGBT community on religious grounds.

"The HNBA views this as a civil rights issue," Miguel Alexander Pozo, HNBA national president, said in a news release. He said it was incumbent on the association to "speak up and take immediate action in the presence of injustice."

The HNBA denounced Arizona's SB 1062 on Monday and called on Gov. Jan Brewer to veto the controversial bill. The bill has sparked national outrage and has prodded the Super Bowl committee to express concern.

Tempe, Ariz., lost the 1993 Super Bowl because state voters defeated a holiday for Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, according to ABC.

The proposed legislation also impacts citizens from other states who travel through Arizona or do business there, the HNBA points out. The association's board of governors voted unanimously to immediately pull the annual convention.

As officers of the court, lawyers are sworn to uphold the Constitution.

"In our view, SB 1062 violates the Equal Protection and the Commerce Clauses of the U.S. Constitution, and offends the antidiscrimination protections found in Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964," Mr. Pozo said.

The 2015 convention will be HNBA's 40th annual gathering. The association hasn't yet announced an alternate venue. This year's meet is being held in Washington, D.C., and should draw about 2,000 conventioneers.

For more stories covering politics, please see HispanicBusiness' Politics Channel

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