Gov. Brewer Veto's Religious Freedom Bill

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

According to a new Rasmussen Reports poll, most Americans don’t want a religious freedom law in their state like the one vetoed Wednesday by Gov. Brewer, but they continue to strongly support a private photographer’s right to not photograph a same-sex wedding for religious reasons.

Critics of the law claim it would discriminate against gays if business operators are allowed to legally deny services to same-sex couples.

During a news conference Brewer said that she could not sign a bill because it would create divisiveness in her state.

“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.”

Apple Inc., American Airlines and the NFL Arizona host committee encouraged Brewer to veto the bill. 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.”

Commentator and author Tricia Erickson said establishment Republicans need to easy off Gov. Brewer.

“While establishment liberal Republicans continue to speak out against godly and conservative principals, they continue to destroy the basic godly principals that this once great nation was founded upon,” said Erickson. “And when freedom of religion and the decision to live by godly principals in all walks of life, including your business life, contradicts what The Bible teaches, we have lost our freedom to worship in this nation.”

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.

 

Photo:
In a photo posted to her Twitter account, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoes Senate Bill 1062, a controversial bill that supporters say protects religious freedom and opponents say encourages discrimination against homosexuals, on Feb. 26, 2014.