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Governor Brewer Vetoes “Religious Freedom” Bill

February 28
15:25 2014

Sooner than expected, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoed controversial State Bill 1062, aka the “Religious Freedom” or “Discrimination” bill, on Wednesday night. The bill, passed by Republican-led Arizona lawmakers last week, would have allowed individuals and businesses to deny service based on religious beliefs without legal repercussion. This was particularly sensitive to the gay and lesbian community who felt targeted by the bill.

VETO SB1062The bill was prompted by a New Mexico Supreme Court case that allowed a gay couple to sue a photographer who refused to photograph their wedding. Senator Steve Yarbrough said he sponsored SB 1062 to “protect religious rights.”

Religious liberty is a core American and Arizona value. So is non-discrimination.”–Governor Jan Brewer

In her statement Brewer said that while she understands that long-held norms about marriage and family are being challenged and society is undergoing dramatic changes, Senate Bill 1062 has the potential to create more problems. It could divide Arizona in ways that cannot be imagined and no one would ever want.

Immediately after Brewer’s announcement, loud cheers could be heard outside the state Capitol building in Phoenix.

Brewer was pressured to veto the bill by many influential individuals and organizations. The CEOs of the state’s top business groups, including Greater Phoenix Economic Council, Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, Greater Phoenix Leadership and the Southern Arizona Leadership Council, wanted the governor to veto. Many business leaders, including those from Apple, Marriott, and American Airlines, strongly opposed the bill. Republican Arizona Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake, Mitt Romney and many other members of the GOP urged urged Brewer to veto the bill, as well.

The consequences of signing the bill would’ve been dire for Arizona. The state’s image has already been badly tarnished by all the negative publicity over the past week. Enough Arizona lawmakers now say they oppose the bill to make it certain there will be no override of the governor’s veto.

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