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Under Overwhelming Pressure Jan Brewer Does the Right Thing Vetoing Anti-Gay Bill in AZ

But AZ governor is still no LGBT friend, and blames Obama for attacks on 'religious freedom.'
 
 
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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 CommitteeApple, 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 weekduring 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.

UPDATE

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.”

UPDATE

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.

 

 

ZACK FORD is the editor of ThinkProgress LGBT at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.