“We are pleased with Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s veto of SB1062. NASCAR actively strives to promote diversity and inclusion throughout the motorsports industry. NASCAR has a zero tolerance policy against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, race, gender, national origin, age, color, disability, religion, or other factors which deny the essential humanity of all people.”
According to the bill’s supporters, the bill was to protect the religious rights of business owners by allowing the to refuse service to gay people. Opponents referred to the bill as discrimintation and compared fighting the passage of it to fighting the civil rights movement of the 1960s all over again.
In the days leading up to Brewer’s decision to veto, the NFL closely followed the issue and prepared to move the 2015 Super Bowl and of Arizona and to another location.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and Nationwide Series race in Arizona this weekend, with the Nationwide Series racing on Saturday and the Sprint Cup Series on Sunday, both at Phoenix International Raceway.
While there isn’t an openly gay driver competing in NASCAR’s three national touring series, Matthew Pattison, a NASCAR official, is openly gay. The subject of gays in NASCAR has come up before, specifically last year after Jason Collins came out of the closet as the first openly-gay player in the NBA.
After Collins’ announcement, Pattison told the Sporting News, “I have no problem. Just don’t walk through there skipping through the garage, and don’t hit on anybody. Do my job. As long as I do my job, I have no problems. You build friendships with people that you see on a weekly basis, and when they find out, they’re like, ‘Oh … cool … whatever.’ And they move on about their business.”
Around that same time, NASCAR issued the following statement:
“NASCAR is a community made up of people from every walk of life. Our employees – regardless of their race, age, national origin, gender, ethnic background, sexual orientation, faith or physical abilities – do an outstanding job of helping to bring the best racing in the world to our fans every week and that is what matters. It’s a stated goal for our sport to reflect America’s diversity. Exclusion or intolerance of any kind – whether behind the wheel, on pit road, or in the garage – is not part of that philosophy.”