Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer said Wednesday she has vetoed a bill that would have allowed businesses, such as wedding photographers and wedding cake bakers, to assert their religious beliefs in rejecting participation in same-sex wedding events.
Homosexual activists and religious freedom advocates both ramped up pressure on Brewer after the state’s Republican-led legislature approved the bill last week.
Brewer said she made the decision she knew was right for her state.
“I call them as I see them, despite the cheers or the boos from the crowd,” she said, calling the bill “broadly worded” and saying it could have unintended consequences.
Brewer said she’d weighed the arguments on both sides.
“To the supporters of the legislation, I want you to know that I understand that long-held norms about marriage and family are being challenged as never before. Our society is undergoing many dramatic changes,” she said. “However, I sincerely believe that Senate Bill 1062 has the potential to create more problems than it purports to solve. It could divide Arizona in ways we cannot even imagine and no one would ever want.
“Religious liberty is a core American and Arizona value, so is non-discrimination.”
Officials with the Alliance Defending Freedom, who just hours before had reported that an Arizona business owner and her children were threatened with death for supporting the legislation, said they will plan to pursue court fights over Arizonans who face discrimination because of the failure of the bill.
Senior counsel Doug Napier said, “Freedom loses when fear overwhelms facts and a good bill is vetoed. Today’s veto enables the foes of faith to more easily suppress the freedom of the people of Arizona. Even though the battle has become more difficult, Alliance Defending Freedom stands ready to defend any Arizonan who suffers the indignity of religious discrimination.”
The bill would have clarified the state’s 1999 Religious Freedom Restoration Act, bringing it into conformity with federal law.
The ADF earlier had released a copy of a letter addressed to Brewer from a long list of top law professors, encouraging her to sign the bill.
The professors said, “The bill has been egregiously misrepresented by many of its critics. We write because we believe that you should make your decision on the basis of accurate information.”
The professors, who describe themselves in the letter as Republican, Democrat, religious, not religious, supporters of same-sex marriage and opponents of same, noted that nine of their number believe the bill should be signed while two were unsure.
“But all of us believe that many criticisms of the Arizona bill are deeply misleading,” they wrote.
Read more: WND
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