Appearing on CNN’s “AC360” Monday night, Arizona State Senator Al Melvin fiercely defended his state’s controversial bill SB 1062 that opponents say would allow businesses to discriminate against gay people for religious reasons.
Anderson Cooper held Melvin’s feet to the fire over whether such a bill would also allow Catholics to discriminate against divorced people, and Melvin deadpanned, “With all due respect, sir, I don’t know of anybody in Arizona who would discriminate against another human being.”
“Really?! Nobody?!” Cooper exclaimed. “I know people in New York who discriminate. Really? There’s nobody? Discrimination doesn’t exist in Arizona?”
“Well, maybe you ought to move to Arizona, we’re more people friendly here apparently.” Melvin countered.
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Melvin said that people were beginning to oppose the bill because of the “media frenzy” surrounding it.
“You’re seriously blaming the media on this?” Cooper interjected. “Oh, come on!”
Later in the interview, Cooper left the politician speechless when he asked if he considered firing LGBT people discrimination.
“If somebody is fired because they’re gay or lesbian in your state, is that discrimination?” Cooper fired back.
Melvin, clearly thrown off by the question, paused, and nervously fought to regain his composure.
“I…don’t know of anybody that discriminates in our state,” Melvin stammered. “I know you’re trying to set me up, and I’m not going to stand for it, sir.”
Watch Cooper’s contentious interview with State Senator Melvin below via CNN: