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Brewer vetoes controversial S.B. 1062

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Courtesy of Gov. Jan Brewer’s Twitter (@GovBrewer)/

Yesterday, Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed S.B. 1062.

Following nearly a week of public outcry, Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed a controversial religious freedom bill on Wednesday.

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act, known in the Arizona Senate as Senate Bill 1062, was passed by both houses of the Arizona Legislature late last week. S.B. 1062 arrived on Brewer’s desk Monday for her consideration.

S.B. 1062 would have allowed businesses to cite their religious beliefs as a reason for denying service to individuals.

“Senate Bill 1062 … does not seek to address a specific and present concern related to Arizona businesses,” Brewer said in a statement released with her veto decision.

“The out-of-state examples cited by proponents of the bill, while concerning, are issues not currently existing in Arizona,” Brewer said. “Furthermore, the bill is broadly worded and could result in unintended and negative consequences.”

The veto announcement comes after several politicians, businesses and groups across the country called for Brewer’s veto. Former Republican presidential nominee Gov. Mitt Romney and Arizona Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake, both Republicans, joined a chorus of politicians on both sides of the aisle urging the governor to veto. Apple Inc. and the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee also voiced their disapproval of S.B. 1062.

Arizona Rep. Ethan Orr (R-District 9) said he fully supported the governor’s decision to veto S.B. 1062. Orr was one of three Republicans to vote against the bill in the Arizona House of Representatives.

“It was 100 percent the right decision for [Brewer] to make,” Orr said.

Orr said he had an hour-long discussion with Brewer on Wednesday concerning the bill. In the discussion, Orr said the bill wasn’t as bad as many were making it out to be, but would still be bad for the state and could carry unintended consequences.

“If you look at the bill, it broadens the actions and definition of religious liberty that it could be used by anyone against others in a discriminatory manner,” Orr said.

Chris Sogge, a sociology and gender and women’s studies senior and a director of ASUA Pride Alliance, said that he was glad the governor vetoed the bill, though he said he was disappointed with the economic reasoning behind the decision.

“I think it’s important to [note] the fact that [the bill] was vetoed mainly for economic complaints, and Brewer didn’t immediately veto it because of the potential discrimination against queer individuals,” Sogge said.

Sogge thanked the efforts of activists who came out strongly in opposition to S.B. 1062 during the past week.

“I want to give a lot of credit to Jan Brewer for [vetoing] it,” Sogge said, “but I think it’s important to note that a lot of the change has happened because of the time and energy that activists and others put in to draw attention to this.”

Orr said the rhetoric that followed the passage of the bill was out of line and that people on both sides needed to tone down what they said.

“Frankly, Arizona is better than that,” Orr said.


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