arizona governor jan brewer on wednesday vetoed a polarizing measure intended to allow state businesses to deny service to gay and lesbians for religious beliefs. during a hotly anticipated news conference at the state capitol she said, "the bill could result in unintended and negative consequences. i sincerely believe that senate bill 1062 has the potential to create more problems than it purports to solve."
gay rights advocates gathered outside the capitol broke out in cheers, hugs, kisses and smiles immediately after brewer's announcement. the contentious bill sparked outrage with the lgbt community and their allies, drawing vocal criticism from business interests, civic leaders and state economic groups.
senator john mccain (r-az) urged brewer to veto the bill. he said he "hopes we can now move on from this controversy and assure the american people that everyone is welcome to live, work and enjoy the state." former secretary of state hillary clinton said her veto - of what clinton called "discriminatory" legislation - recognizes "that inclusive leadership is what the 21st century is all about."
alessandra soler, executive director of the aclu of arizona said, "discrimination has no place in arizona, or anywhere else. we're grateful that the governor has stopped this disgraceful law from taking effect, and that arizona will remain open for business to everyone." sarah kate ellis, president of glad said brewer, "demonstrated that basic respect for lgbt people extends across party lines, and anti-lgbt bias isn't just bad politics, it's bad for business."
defenders of the measure said it was a key safeguard for religious freedom. the lawmakers who backed it said it was intended to add another layer of protection from lawsuits to individuals who assert their religious beliefs in refusing service to gays and lesbians. the center for arizona policy, a prominent social conservative group and architect of the bill said, "today's veto of sb 1062 marks a sad day for arizonans who cherish and understand religious liberty."
in the last week, a number of major corporations strongly voiced their opposition to sb 1062. among them were american airlines, delta airlines, intel, major league baseball, marriott hotels, petsmart and yelp. apple, inc., which recently announced plans to build a new manufacturing plant in mesa, arizona, joined others against the bill.
arizona is scheduled to host next year's super bowl. however, that coup de grace was in jeopardy. in fact, sports illustrated reported the nfl was seriously considering moving the game (super bowl 49) from the phoenix-area city of glendale, if the bill were signed into law.
several republicans, including mccain, senator jeff flake and former gop presidential nominee mitt romney, pressed brewer to veto the bill. even three state lawmakers - who voted for the proposed law initially - asked her to veto the bill. the republican-controlled state legislature passed the measure last week. however, brewer was in washington, d.c. for the national governors association meeting at the time, and did not return to phoenix until tuesday.
sb 1062 would permit any business, church or person to cite the law as a defense in any legal action brought by the government or individual claiming discrimination. proponents called the bill a slight adjustment to the state's existing freedom law, which doesn't protect people based on sexual orientation. the law would've trumped local ordinances offering protections for lgbt people in cities like flagstaff, phoenix and tucson.
- mark j. tuggle
- harlem, usa
- same-gender-loving contemporary descendant of enslaved africans. community activist, feminist, health educator, independent filmmaker, mentor, playwright, poet & spiritual being. featured at, in & on africana.com, afrikan poetry theatre, angel herald, bejata dot com, bet tonight with tavis smiley, blacklight online, black noir, brooklyn moon cafe, gmhc's barbershop, klmo-fm, lgbt community services center, longmoor productions, nuyorican poets cafe, our corner, poz, pulse, rolling out new york, rush arts gallery, saint veronica's church, schomburg center for research in black culture, sexplorations, the citizen, the new york times, the soundz bar, the trenton times, the village voice, upn news, uzuri, venus, vibe, wbai-fm, wnyc-fm & wqht-fm. volunteered with adodi, bailey house, inc., black men's xchange-new york, colorofchange.org, drug policy alliance, east harlem tutorial program, imagenation film & music festival, presente.org, save darfur coalition, the enough project, the osborne association, the sledge group & your black world. worked on films with maurice jamal & heather murphy. writing student of phil bertelsen & ed bullins. firstname.lastname@example.org.