Rejecting last minute pleas from its supporters, Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed late Wednesday controversial legislation billed as protecting religious freedom. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer explains.
Proponents of SB 1062 said it simply expanded laws that protect business owners from having to do things that violate their deeply held religious beliefs. In a prepared statement, Brewer said she is concerned about government and courts encroaching on religious freedom. But, the governor suggested this legislation was a solution in search of a problem.
“SB 1062 does not address a specific or present concern related to religious liberty in Arizona. I’ve not heard of one example in Arizona where business owners’ religious liberty has been violated,” Brewer said.
In vetoing the measure the governor honored concerns by business and tourism officials who feared it would be seen as a license to discriminate, especially against gays, and result in companies refusing to come here. Brewer, who would not answer questions, never addressed the issue of gay rights, but acknowledged that sensitivities have changed.
“Our society is undergoing many dramatic changes. However, I sincerely believe that SB 1062 has the potential to create more problems than it purports to solve,” Brewer said.
The veto drew a blast from Cathi Herrod of the Christian-oriented Center for Arizona Policy who said foes got Brewer to kill the measure by distorting what it would do.