USA, Arizona: Governor Brewer Waffles on “Right to Discriminate” Bill

Written by scott on February 22nd, 2014

Right to Discriminate - Rocco's PizzeriaWill she sign it, or won’t she? Governor Jan Brewer is sending mixed signals about the fate of the “right to discriminate” bill passed by the AZ legislature this last week.

CNN reports:

The bill, which the state House of Representatives passed by a 33-27 vote Thursday, now goes to Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican and onetime small business owner who vetoed similar legislation last year but has expressed the right of business owners to deny service. “I think anybody that owns a business can choose who they work with or who they don’t work with,” Brewer told CNN in Washington on Friday. “But I don’t know that it needs to be statutory. In my life and in my businesses, if I don’t want to do business or if I don’t want to deal with a particular company or person or whatever, I’m not interested. That’s America. That’s freedom.”

So it’s official – the “freedom” the GOP is always talking about is the freedom to discriminate.

Governor Brewer also tweeted that she would make a decision by next Friday:

“I will make my decision by next Friday… But it’s very controversial, so I’ve got to get my hands around it.”

Which may be problematic, because the bill automatically becomes law if she does nothing by either Tuesday or Thursday (5 days or 5 business days).

Mayors of two central Arizona cities are ruing Governor Brewer to veto the bill.

Joe.My.God reports:

The Democratic mayors of Phoenix and Tempe took to Twitter to denounce Arizona’s anti-gay bill and demand that it be vetoed by Gov. Jan Brewer. Notably quiet is the GOP mayor of Mesa, Scott Smith, who is running for governor. Also silent so far is Jay Tibshraeny, the GOP mayor of Chandler, Arizona’s fourth-largest city. (But he DID just tweet about the Ostrich Festival. Priorities!) Scottsdale GOP mayor Jim Lane, who opposed his city’s successful LGBT rights ordinance in 2007, has also not yet uttered a word. Ditto for the GOP mayor of Gilbert, John Lewis. The Democratic mayor of Tucson, Jonathan Rothschild, rarely uses Twitter and has not yet responded to the press, but he is an ardent supporter of LGBT rights and same-sex marriage.

House Minority Leader Chad Campbell, (D) Phoenix, says the bill sends a very bad message about the state.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

Campbell, the Democratic minority leader, said during Thursday’s debate that gays and lesbians across the country would get the message that they’re not welcome in Arizona. “We’re telling them, ‘We don’t like you. We don’t want you here. We’re not going to protect you,” he said.

It’s already hard to go back to my home state to visit my family – my husband, Mark, is hispanic. And now this?

Meanwhile, Joe.My.God points out that many of the national LGBT groups seem to be silent on the Arizona bill:

Unless I’ve missed something, there has not been one response from any of these organizations in the 24 hours since the Arizona legislature voted to legalize anti-gay discrimination. I’ve gotten zero outraged press releases and there’s basically nothing about Arizona on the websites of the Human Rights Campaign, AFER, Lambda Legal, NCLR, the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, Freedom To Marry, or GLAAD. Yesterday HRC did tweet out a link to five-sentence blog post and the Task Force today retweeted somebody else’s message to contact Gov. Jan Brewer. But that’s it, as far I can I tell.

And right on schedule, here’s something from HRC.

SDGLN reports:

Following the Senate passage of Arizona’s so-called “Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin called on Gov. Jan Brewer to veto the bill. “This bill is bad for business, bad for the LGBT community and bad for all Arizonans. Governor Brewer, who herself described it as very controversial, must veto it and send a strong message that legally sanctioned discrimination has no place in Arizona,” Griffin said. “Religious groups have a long established first amendment ability to operate according to their own beliefs. However, when individuals or businesses go out into the commercial market, they must abide by legal non-discrimination provisions,” he said.

Hundreds rallied at the Capitol to urge Governor Brewer to veto the bill.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

Hundreds of people have gathered at the Arizona Capitol to demand that Gov. Jan Brewer veto legislation that would allow business owners to refuse to serve gays by citing their religious beliefs. Friday afternoon’s protests come a day after the House passed a bill pushed by conservative Republicans that adds protections from discrimination lawsuits to individuals and businesses. The Senate passed the same bill on Wednesday. Gov. Jan Brewer must sign or veto Senate Bill 1062 by the end of next week.

On the other side, predictably, NOM is urging Governor Brewer to sign the bill:

Both the Arizona Senate and House have approved a bill that would prevent business owners from being targeted in lawsuits for declining to participate in same-sex wedding celebrations on the grounds of religious objections. With the spate of lawsuits we’ve seen around the country brought against business owners who have declined service for same-sex ‘marriage’ celebrations, we know how critical legislation of this nature is to protect the First Amendment rights of people of faith. The Arizona legislature should be commended for passing this crucial bill, and now we must ask Governor Brewer to sign it immediately into law!

The local Center for Arizona Policy, an anti gay group that co-authored the bill, is also pushing for her signature.

Joe.My.God reports:

Even before the last vote was cast in the House, opponents of SB 1062 started a mass calling and email campaign into Governor Brewer’s office to try to pressure her into vetoing this important bill. It is critical that the Governor hears from YOU that no one should be forced to violate their religious beliefs merely because they go to work or start a business!

Our favorite story of the day? This one, from Tucson, about a pizzeria owner exercising his own right to discriminate.

Joe.My.God reports:

Posted to the Facebook page of Rocco’s Little Chicago Pizzeria in Tucson. The restaurant has also posted this: “As a longtime employer and feeder of the gay community, Rocco’s reserves the right to eject any State Senators we see fit to kick out. That is all.” The photo has been shared over 2000 times and many commenters are vowing to patronize Rocco’s.

This guy has the right idea. I’ve already asked all my Tucson relatives to go and grab a slice of Rocco’s pizza.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Arizona.


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