Arizona Gov. Vetoes Controversial "Religious Beliefs" Bill

Russ Jones | ReligionToday.com Contributor | Thursday, February 27, 2014

Arizona Gov. Vetoes Controversial "Religious Beliefs" Bill


Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed a controversial bill Wednesday that would have allowed businesses to legally refuse service based on religious beliefs. In recent days there has been mounting opposition regarding Senate Bill 1062 from corporations as well as the LGBT community.

Critics claim the law would have discriminated against gays allowing those who don’t support same-sex marriage to deny services.

The conservative Republican governor said during a press conference that she could not sign a bill that didn’t seem necessary.

“Senate Bill 1062 does not address a specific and present concern related to religious liberty in Arizona,” said Brewer. “I have not heard of one example in Arizona where a business owner’s religious liberty has been violated. The bill is broadly worded and could result in unintended and negative consequences. After weighing all of the arguments, I vetoed Senate Bill 1062 moments ago.”

Numerous corporations like Apple Inc., American Airlines and even the National Football League encouraged Brewer to reject the bill.  Establishment Republicans such as former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and Senator John McCain (R-AZ) were quick to applaud the decision.

“I appreciate the decision made by Governor Brewer to veto this legislation, Sen. McCain said in a statement. "I hope that we can now move on from this controversy and assure the American people that everyone is welcome to live, work and enjoy our beautiful State of Arizona.”

Although the implications of the bill go well beyond marriage, we shouldn't be surprised that the homosexual activists have seized on that narrow reading of the measure to gin up outrage about the bill -- going so far as to say that it could be used as a weapon of religious intolerance for people who don't want to serve homosexuals in any capacity.

The Family Research Council expressed disappointment about the veto. FRC President Tony Perkins claims the governor missed an opportunity to strengthened Arizona's Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).

"This measure should have been a political no-brainer and only went down because people either chose to ignore the plain language of the bill or refused to read it altogether,” Perkins said. "This bill like the federal RFRA, bars government discrimination against religious exercise, so by vetoing this bill Gov. Brewer is saying she supports government discrimination against people's religious freedoms.”

Several other states are considering similar actions to protect religious freedoms, but some claim Arizona’s recent battle could curb such efforts.

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