The Feb. 23 news article “ Gay rights advocates push for veto of Arizona bill ” reported that proponents of the proposal in the Arizona Legislature to allow businesses to refuse service to gay people contend it “protects the First Amendment rights of business owners who are expressing their religious beliefs.” The First Amendment, indeed, guarantees the free exercise of religion. At the same time, the First Amendment protects freedom of speech. That protection extends to the expression even of views that are most vile or odious. So the Arizona bill raises a question: Can a business owned by a bigot deny service to blacks (or women or Muslims) as an expression of free speech?

Bill Yue, Arlington