Van Jones: We Don't Want to See 'No Gays' Signs in This Country

Melanie Arter | March 3, 2014 | 12:32pm EST
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Van Jones, "Crossfire" co-host (AP Photo.)

( - CNN co-host Van Jones, in a roundtable discussion on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopolous" on Sunday, compared Arizona's SB 1062 - which has been vetoed by Gov. Jan Brewer - to the civil rights movement, saying, "We don't want to see 'no gays' signs."

"The one great achievement of the last century, we took out of American lexicon six words, 'we don't serve your kind here.' We took those words out. It took the civil rights movement to do it. Dr. King got killed trying to do it. 'We don't serve your kind here' is not acceptable anymore. Those 'no blacks allowed' signs came down. We don't want to see 'no gays' signs allowed in this country," said Jones, co-host of "Crossfire" and former green jobs czar for the Obama administration.

"That's not what this law would have done," Rich Lowery, editor of the National Review, said in response.

SB 1062 amends part of the state's constitution on the free exercise of religion to protect business owners from being forced to violate their religious beliefs.

"If you ever run a coffee shop and you refuse to serve a gay person, one, you're an idiot. Two, you're not going to have a defense under this law, because serving someone coffee is not a burden on your religion," Lowery said.

"The cases we're talking about that are relevant here is bakers, florists, photographers who say -- the evangelical Christians or Catholics who say I don't have any problem with gay people, but I don't want to participate in a gay wedding, because I have conscientious objections to it. And there have been cases where people have been punished, Van, for that, reported to the authorities for sanctions or fines. That is wrong, and that's what is trying to be addressed here," Lowery added.

ABC News correspondent Cokie Roberts compared SB 1062 to the contraception mandate, which requires business owners to provide contraceptive coverage in the health care plans they offer their employees even if doing so violates their religious beliefs.

"One of the reasons that it's so important to draw these lines is that we have some cases right now in the Supreme Court, which are saying that people who are business owners, not religious institutions and not religiously affiliated institutions like Catholic Hospitals, for instance, but business owners saying they don't have to provide contraceptive coverage because we disagree with it," Roberts said.

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