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.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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