Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has vetoed a bill that would have legalized discrimination in the 48th State on the basis of sexual orientation, after progressives and business groups mobilized against the bill following its passage out of the Grand Canyon State’s Legislature, which is controlled by Republicans.
The Arizona Republic reports that Brewer revealed her decision at a short news conference in which she took no questions. Brewer said the legislation, Senate Bill 1062, would have created more problems than it would have solved.
The Republican governor announced the bill was unnecessary legislation that threatened the state’s recovering economy by driving away high-profile events such as next year’s Super Bowl and corporations looking to relocate to Arizona.
Her veto – coming two days after state lawmakers sent SB 1062 to her desk – capped a week of escalating furor over the bill that once again catapulted Arizona’s political into the national spotlight.
The state’s Republican U.S. senators, John McCain and Jeff Flake, the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, hundreds of protesters and the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee, which is preparing for the 2015 NFL championship game, all urged the governor to veto the bill, saying it could wreck the state’s post-recession recovery. National political figures such as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney also weighed in this week to urge Brewer to nix the measure.
Brewer was also asked to veto SB 1062 by several Republican state senators who originally voted for it, but changed their minds after its passage created a nationwide furor. Had they voted no when it was in their hands, it would never have made it to Brewer’s desk, as all of the Democrats were opposed.
Civil rights advocates praised the veto.
“We thank Governor Brewer for her decision to veto this outrageous measure — a law that if enacted would be bad for Arizona people and the Arizona economy. In doing so, she has stopped a bill that both cynically uses religion as a smokescreen to justify discrimination and insults people of faith who feel that discrimination is morally wrong. This decision sends a clear message that extremism is totally unacceptable to people of all political persuasions,” said Rea Carey, Executive Director of National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund.
We too applaud the demise of SB 1062, which would have allowed Arizona business owners to refuse to serve gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals merely due to their sexual orientation. Discrimination goes against the values of our country, and our laws should forbid it — not allow it or encourage it.