Arizona Governor Jan Brewer ended days of suspense by announcing she has vetoed the state’s controversial ‘turn away the gays’ law.
Brewer said at an evening press conference Wednesday (26 February) that the proposed legislation ‘has the potential to create more problems that it purports to solve.’
The controversial SB 1062 was passed last week by the Republican controlled state Senate a day after it passed in the House chambers.
If signed, it would have allowed anyone to refuse services to anyone, for any reason including being LGBTI, as long as religious belief violations are claimed.
Brewer said she was not presented with a single instance in which an Arizona business owner’s religious liberties were violated.
‘To the supporters of the legislation, I want you to know that I understand that long-held norms about marriage and family are being challenged as never before. Our society is undergoing many dramatic changes,’ she said. ‘However, I sincerely believe that Senate Bill 1062 has the potential to create more problems than it purports to solve. It could divide Arizona in ways we cannot even imagine and no one would ever want.’
‘Religious liberty is a core American and Arizona value,’ she added, ‘so is non-discrimination.’
SB 1062 was inspired by a situation in New Mexico where last year, that state’s Supreme Court ruled that a photographer violated New Mexico’s Human Rights Act by refusing to photograph a same-sex wedding.
Pressure to veto has grown in recent days including from the NFL which was reportedly considering moving next year’s Super Bowl from Arizona if the bill were signed into law.
Others speaking out against included the last two Republican party presidential nominees Mitt Romney and Arizona Senator John McCain.
Also, three Republican senators who voted in favor of the bill last week changed course on Monday and sent Brewer a letter asking her to veto it.
Business leaders in the state also urged a veto as did three major airlines: American Airlines, Southwest Airlines and Delta.
LGBTI media watchdog group GLAAD praised Brewer’s veto.
‘Governor Brewer today 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,’ stated GLAAD CEO and President Sarah Kate Ellis.
Ellis added: ‘As other states consider similar laws that aim only to make LGBT people’s lives more difficult, legislators would do well to remember that anti-LGBT laws just won’t be tolerated.’