FLASH!! —Arizona Republican Governor Jan Brewer has VETOED the controversial SB 1062 touted as the “Religious Freedom Bill” passed by the state legislature last week. Opponents raised concerns that if enacted into law it would establish “State Sanctioned Discrimination” against LGBT and others. The bill would have provided business owners a legal defense for refusing to serve someone based on the owners “sincere religious beliefs.” There has been growing opposition all wek from gay activists such as George Takei (who played Sulu on the original Star Trek) to the NFL who was about to consider moving the 2015 Super Bowl from Arizona elsewhere if the bill was signed by the Governor.
Brewer was at the Governor’s Conference in Washington when the legislature passed the bill. She returned yesterday and told reporters that she would consider both sides on the controversy before making a decision as to what she would do. This afternoon the Governor made the choice to veto the legislation. In the past couple of days a number of state Republicans have “abandoned ship” even though they voted for the bill amid the growing national outcry. Some were even urging the governor to veto it.
State Senator Steve Yarborough was the primary sponsor of the bill and defended it in a meeting with Brewer. Yarborough said he just wanted legal protections for people who choose to assert their religious beliefs when it comes to providing services to gays and lesbians. Democrats in the legislature all voted against the bill and warned Republicans that it would be viewed as a discrimination bill against LGBT people and that there would be a national outcry. They also warned that passing the legislation could cost the state millions in lost revenue due to cancellations of tourism, conventions, and the Super Bowl. Republicans paid no heed to them. The vote was mostly along party lines with only 2-3 Republicans voting against the bill last week. Republicans control the legislature.
Brewer said in a Tweet yesterday that she intended on “doing the right thing.” State Senator Bob Worsley of Mesa pointed out that even though the bill had not yet been enacted into law it had already damaged the state due to the growing outcry across the nation. It is highly doubtful that had she signed the bill the courts would uphold it and this was yet another aspect the governor must have considered in making her decision to veto it.
Governor Brewer made the announcement this afternoon in Phoenix at the State Capital. During her announcement the Governor said the measure had the potential to create more problems that to solve. The Governor went on to say that the legislation did not address a “specific or present concern related to religious liberty.” She noted that the bill was “broadly worded and could result in unintended and negative consequences” for the State of Arizona and residents.
The Governor also said that she wanted people across the nation to know that Arizona holds religious liberty and nondiscrimination as “core values.” She said she felt the bill would have divided the state in “ways we cannot even imagine.” Brewer went on to say that she has not heard of even one instance in the state in which a business owner’s religious beliefs had been violated. Both US Senators from Arzona, John McCain and Jeff Flake, had urged Brewer to veto the bill earlier this week. Brewer urged legislators to move beyond the “ugliness” of the past few days. She told reporters, “Going forward, let’s turn the ugliness of the debate over Senate Bill 1062 into a renewed search for greater respect and understanding among all Arizonans and Americans.”
Hopefully so Governor but I fear a great amount of damage has already been done. Ultra-Conservatives got their message across LOUD AND CLEAR. Once again Arizona has been given a black eye as it got over SB 1070 which was the anti-immigration bill targeting Hispanics. This is an election year in Arizona and hopefully the good voters in the state will make massive changes in the composition of the state legislature that more accurately reflects the people of Arizona instead of neo-con hardline views.
Sadly, the Governor’s Veto did not come in time to save one convention scheduled to be held in the state. The Hispanic Bar Association of lawyers announced that their Board of Directors had all voted to move the annual convention out of Arizona due to the fact that the legislature passed SB 1062. The HBA said they view the issue as a civil rights issue. For more on this go to: