“I can assure you, as always, I will do the right thing for the state of Arizona.”
Though Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has not shown her intention either way, signs show that she will most likely veto S.B. 1062, a bill that allows private business owners to refuse to serve gay and lesbian customers in the name of “religious freedom.”
The bill was passed by lawmakers in the Republican-run southwest state last week, angering gay rights groups all over the country.
“…when I receive the bill, I’m going to read it and I’m going to be briefed on it. We have been following it. And I will make my decision in the near future,” she told CNN.
Many political and business leaders are encouraging the 69-year old governor to veto the bill, including Arizona Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake. They are concerned it will hurt the economic interest of the state.
Doug Parker, CEO of American Airlines, sent a letter to Brewer, saying, “There is genuine concern throughout the business community that this bill, if signed into law, would jeopardize all that has been accomplished so far.”
On Monday, the Arizona Super Bowl committee also denounced the bill.
“We share the NFL’s core values which embrace tolerance, diversity, inclusiveness and prohibit discrimination … We do not support this legislation.”
Matthew Hale, a political scientist at Seton Hall University, said, “The big question is will the NFL take away the Super Bowl next year? The NFL has a history of homophobia and bullying, and the first openly gay player is coming in the next draft. As a result, the pressure on the NFL to take away the big game will be tremendous.”
Brewer has responded by saying, “I have a history of deliberating and having an open dialogue on bills that are controversial, to listen to both sides of those issues, and I welcome the input, and information that they can provide to me. And certainly I am pro-business, and that is what’s turning our economy around, so I appreciate their input, as I appreciate the other side.”
State Republicans are worried since last year Brewer vetoed a similar bill, saying that she wanted to focus on more important issues such as Medicaid expansion and overhauling the state’s child protective services system.
However, Brewer, the fourth female governor of Arizona, also realizes that approval of the bill will likely trigger lawsuits.
Four years ago, Arizona passed a controversial “show me your papers” immigration law that showed the state as being “on the wrong side of history” and intolerant, hurting Arizona tourism. That law was eventually struck down by the US Supreme Court.
“This legislation has already hurt Arizona and it will continue to harm the state should it become law,” says Mark Tatge, a communication professor at DePauw University.
Brewer has until Saturday to sign or veto the bill. If she does nothing, it automatically becomes a law.
Image via Wikimedia Commons