After a week of national backlash, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) has vetoed SB 1062, which would have allowed religious beliefs to be used to justify discrimination against LGBT people and others. Explaining her veto, Brewer said, “I call them like I see them despite the cheers or boos from the crowd.” She added that the bill does not address a specific concern and that she knows of no examples of how religious liberty has been under attack.
Opposition to the bill came from individuals and companies across the country, including the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee, Apple, and Mitt Romney. Many other states have introduced similar bills, some specifying that businesses could refuse services to marrying same-sex couples, but most have stalled or died, particularly those introduced this week during the backlash against Arizona.
This is not the first time Brewer has opposed Republican leadership; in fact, she vetoed this same bill last year as part of a vendetta against the Arizona legislature for not passing a budget. Last October, she urged Republicans in Congress to stop trying to defund Obamacare after having begged Republican state lawmakers to accept the law’s Medicaid expansion. She has even suggested that the GOP should be open to tax increases as a compromise to pass a budget through Congress.
Still, Brewer is no LGBT ally either. Shortly after she assumed office, she signed a bill redefining “dependent” so that same-sex domestic partners of state employees could no longer receive benefits, arguing that “God has placed me in this powerful position as Arizona’s governor” to make such decisions. She defended cutting the benefits in court, but not successfully.
In a letter explaining her veto, Brewer calls out Obama: “The concerns raised by the proponents of this bill are not unfounded. As a result of actions taken by the Obama Administration, as well as some federal and out-of-state courts, I am increasingly concerned about government’s encroachment upon our religious freedoms.”
In Ohio, two state lawmakers withdrew proposed legislation that mirrors the Arizona bill. “We feel that it is in the best interest of Ohioans that there be no further consideration of this legislation,” State Rep Tim Derickson (R) said in a statement.