Thursday, February 27, 2014

Arizona Governor Vetoes Anti-Gay Religious Freedom Bill

As reported by the Arizona Daily Star, yesterday Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed H.B. 1062, the controversial amendments to the state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act that would, among other things, have allowed businesses to invoke religious freedom claims to refuse to serve gays and lesbians, particularly in the context of same-sex marriages. (See prior posting.) Announcing her decision at a news conference (full text of remarks), Brewer said that the bill is unneeded and "could divide Arizona in ways we cannot even imagine and no one would ever want." In her formal Veto Letter (full text), Brewer said in part:
Senate Bill 1062 ... does not seek to address a specific and present concern related to Arizona businesses.  The out-of-state examples cited by proponents of the bill, while concerning, are issues not currently existing in Arizona.  Furthermore, the bill is broadly worded and could result in unintended and negative consequences.  The legislation seeks to protect businesses, yet the business community overwhelmingly opposes the proposed law.  Moreover, some legislators that voted for the bill have reconsidered their votes and now do not want this legislation to become law.