Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Jan Brewer Vetoes SB 1062

Posted By on Wed, Feb 26, 2014 at 5:59 PM

She didn't answer questions, but Jan Brewer announced this evening that she vetoed SB 1062, stating that she hadn't heard a concrete example of the sort of religious discrimination the bill was designed to prevent.

The governor's comments:

Good evening, and thank you for joining me here today.

I am here to announce my decision on Senate Bill 1062.

As with every proposal that reaches my desk, I gave Senate Bill 1062 careful evaluation and deliberate consideration. I call them like I see them, despite the cheers or boos from the crowd.

I took the time necessary to make the RIGHT decision. I met or spoke with my attorneys, lawmakers and citizens supporting and opposing this legislation.

I listened . . . and asked questions.

As Governor, I have protected religious freedoms when there is a specific and present concern that exists in OUR state.

And I have the record to prove it.

My agenda is to sign into law legislation that advances Arizona.

When I addressed the Legislature earlier this year, I made my priorities for this session abundantly clear…

Among them are passing a responsible budget that continues Arizona’s economic comeback.

From CEOs — to entrepreneurs — to business surveys — Arizona ranks as one the best states to grow or start a business.

Additionally, our IMMEDIATE challenge is fixing a broken Child Protection system.

Instead, this is the first policy bill to cross my desk.

Senate Bill 1062 does not address a specific and present concern related to religious liberty in Arizona. I have not heard of one example in Arizona where a business owner’s religious liberty has been violated.

The bill is broadly worded and could result in unintended and negative consequences.

After weighing all of the arguments, I vetoed Senate Bill 1062 moments ago.

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. 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.

Going forward, let’s turn the ugliness of the debate over Senate Bill 1062 into a renewed search for greater respect and understanding among ALL Arizonans and Americans.

Thank you.

Cathi Herrod of the Center for Arizona Policy, which lead the push to pass the bill, released a statement:

Today's veto of SB 1062 marks a sad day for Arizonans who cherish and understand religious liberty. SB 1062 passed the legislature for one reason only: To guarantee that all Arizonans would be free to live and work according to their faith. Opponents were desperate to distort this bill rather than debate the merits. Essentially, they succeeded in getting a veto of a bill that does not even exist.

When the force of government compels one to speak or act contrary to their conscience, the government injures not only the dignity of the afflicted, but the dignity of our society as a whole.

SB 1062 made certain that governmental laws cannot force people to violate their faith unless it has a compelling governmental interest-a balancing of interests that has been in federal law since 1993. The religious beliefs of all Arizonans must be respected and this bill did nothing more than affirm that. It is truly a tragic day in our state and nation when lies and personal attacks can overshadow the truth.

A statement from Visit Tucson head Brent DeRaad:

I am one of many Arizonans who is relieved that Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer recently vetoed Senate Bill 1062, referred to as the “Religious Freedom Act.”

The bill was incredibly flawed. While many agree with protecting religious freedom, we saw, based on the massive outcry against this bill by Arizonans, that very few support using a religious freedom argument to potentially promote discrimination against the LGBT community and possibly others not protected by federal law.
Because the bill was passed by the legislature prior to being vetoed, we have heard from potential visitors with trepidation about what they will experience in Arizona.

Based on what I’ve witnessed, Tucson gladly welcomes LGBT customers and I can assure you that we at Visit Tucson will do all we can to continue earning LGBT business, along with visits and meetings from all potential customers.

Tucson is among the most welcoming communities I have ever experienced.
We went through a metro Tucson destination branding process in 2013 where we interviewed local stakeholders, conducted consumer focus groups in top Tucson feeder markets and surveyed a national cross-section of potential visitors.

Tucson’s brand promise, which emerged from that process, is: “Tucson inspires a sense of freedom among all who visit. Freedom of thought and expression. Freedom to discover and explore. And the freedom to be yourself.”

You will find our brand positioning of “Free Yourself” listed throughout our website, publications and other promotional materials.

We welcome everyone to Tucson. Don’t miss out on our Sonoran Desert via cycling and hiking trails, our original cuisine, top attractions, day trips and tours to southern Arizona and Mexico, and Tucson’s friendly culture. We invite you to “Free Yourself” in Tucson.

A comment from Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin:

“With today’s veto, Governor Brewer spared her state from institutional discrimination and economic catastrophe. Make no mistake, there is no better way to doom jobs in a state than by signing license-to-discriminate bills,” said Human Rights Campaign (HRC) President Chad Griffin. “The bipartisan outpouring of opposition to this bill is all the proof you need that this country isn't turning backwards. Governor Brewer did the right thing in stopping this assault on businesses and the LGBT community and we call on her and the legislature—and governors and legislators in other states—to resist any attempt to give license to discrimination."

Speaker of the House Andy Tobin, who voted for the bill released a statement:

I respect the Governor’s position to veto SB1062, especially in light of the concerns brought up over
the past week. I understand the concerns of people of good faith on all sides of this issue.

Updates to come.

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