Arizona Legislature sent a bill to Republican Governor Jan Brewer that would allow Arizona businesses to deny gays and other members of the LGBT community the right to their services on the grounds of religion. Brewer has faced high pressures concerning the veto or passing of this bill from all directions of the argument, and as Arizona receives national attention due to this bill being passed through legislation the pressure rises and the nation anticipates Brewer’s decision.
The bill, titled Senate Bill 1062, is being backed and pushed by the Center for Arizona Policy. This group is a social conservative group that disapproves gay marriage and abortions. This group expresses the need for such a bill in order to protect against federal court activists and is intended to clarify already existing laws. The Center for Arizona Policy president, Cathi Herrod, continues to urge Brewer to pass the bill based on what she states is elected leaders constitutional duty. As Herrod told press associates, SB 1062 is about protecting religious freedom.
According to the New York Times, since the bill passed Legislative houses Thursday February 20th, many business groups, elected officials, and civic leaders have spoken out against the bill expressing their disapproval of the bill being passed, and their hope for Brewer’s rejection of the bill. This includes Republican Arizona senators, Jeff Flake and John McCain, who posted similar tweets stating their hopes that Brewer would veto the bill. Likewise, these pleas have been matched with such calls from both sides of the argument. Republican senators Steve Pierce, Adam Driggs, and Bob Worsley, who were apart of the conservative group that assisted the bill in being passed through legislation expressed to the public how sincere their intent was with voting for this bill by stating they had hoped it would be a “shield” for religious liberties rather than intolerance. As Arizona Governor contemplates this bill that gives business owners the right to deny gays their services based on religion, the nations media outlets have blown up with unwanted attention towards Arizona, and Brewer faces a highly criticized decision with vetoing or not vetoing this religion bill.
Along with business and elected officials, the people of Arizona have also expressed their opinions concerning the bill through such means as peaceful protests. According to the San Francisco Chronicles, 350 people gathered together in front of the Arizona Capitol on Monday to protest the bill being passed. Many carried homemade signs and others gave speeches expressing their concerns about the bill being passed.
Andrew Wilder, Brewer’s spokesperson told press associates that Brewer was in Washington over the week and would return to Phoenix Monday. Wilder proposed that Brewer’s decision would not take long. According to CNN, Brewer has five days to make a decision concerning the bill. On the fifth day, if a decision has yet to be made the bill will automatically become law. International Business Times reported that Brewer told CNN she would thoroughly review the bill and from that information would proceed with making her decision based on what is the right thing to do. Until then the nation awaits Arizona’s decision as Brewer contemplates whether or not gays should be denied the right to services by a business based on the grounds of religion and the freedoms within practicing those beliefs.
By Sarah Widger