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Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer likely to veto anti-gay law

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer is likely to veto a controversial bill passed by the legislature that would allow businesses to discriminate against gay people based on their religious beliefs.
By Gabrielle Levy   |   Feb. 25, 2014 at 11:07 AM   |   Comments

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PHOENIX, Feb. 25 (UPI) -- Sources close to Gov. Jan Brewer say the Republican is likely to veto Arizona's deeply controversial bill that would allow denial of service to gay people when she returns to the state this week.

Brewer, who has been in Washington attending the annual National Governors Association meeting this week, has publicly said she still has to look closely at the bill, but plans to "do the right thing for Arizona."

But privately, sources closer to Brewer say she's more likely to bend to warnings from business interests who say the law would unleash an economic backlash similar to the one that followed the state's controversial immigration law in 2010.

"It’s been her proclivity in the past to focus on the priorities she wants them [the legislature] to accomplish, and this was clearly not part of her agenda,” said her longtime adviser, Chuck Coughlin.

“She doesn’t want to take any actions that could jeopardize the economic momentum we’ve seen here in Arizona,” another source close to the governor said.

She has until Saturday morning to make her decision.

The measure is similar to those passed in legislatures in Kansas and Idaho, before being pulled back after they were met with fierce opposition once they became widely known. It would allow businesses to deny service to gay and lesbian customers under the guise of religious freedom.

In Arizona, where the Republican-controlled legislature passed the measure with broad margins, a similar outcry has raised concerns the state would face a boycott or litigation.

Apple, which recently announced plans to open a manufacturing plant in the state, urged Brewer to veto the law, and American Airlines, Marriott, and the Arizona Chamber of Commerce warned the law would be bad for tourism and business.

The senators from Arizona, Republicans John McCain and Jeff Flake, both encouraged Brewer to veto the bill, as do the leading GOP candidates for governor.

And on Monday, the Arizona Super Bowl Committee, which is hosting the championship game next year, warned of a repeat of the NFL's 1993 decision to pull the game from the state after the governor rescinded Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a state holiday.

The NFL issued a statement saying it was aware of the controversy, but made no immediate threats.

“Our policies emphasize tolerance and inclusiveness, and prohibit discrimination based on age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other improper standard," the statement said. "We are following the issue in Arizona and will continue to do so should the bill be signed into law, but will decline further comment at this time.”


[CNN]
[NBC News]
[Arizona Chamber of Commerce]

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