In Depth

Arizona governor vetoes anti-gay bill

Controversial bill would have let business owners turn away gay customer on religious grounds

ARIZONA State Governor Jan Brewer yesterday vetoed a senate bill that would have allowed businesses to refuse service to gay customers.

Senate Bill 1062 – ostensibly designed to protect "sincerely held religious beliefs" – would have let business owners turn away people whose presence they felt contradicted their faith.

Although the bill did not reference homosexuality explicitly, it was widely seen as the latest in a series of laws directed towards the gay community – and intended to appease Southern conservatives disgruntled with the rapid spread of legalised gay marriage, reports The Guardian.

Before announcing her veto, Brewer, a Republican, told supporters of the bill that she understood "long-held norms about marriage and family are being challenged as never before," but said the bill had "the potential to create more problems than it purports to solve."

Why did she veto the bill?

The "problems" referenced by Brewer are widely perceived as economic, with many of America’s largest corporations publicly speaking out against the bill.

Tech giant Apple, currently planning to bring a new factory and 2,000 jobs to the state, has been particularly critical, reports the BBC, as has American Airlines.

USA Today says that threats from the NFL to relocate next season’s Super Bowl away from Arizona could also have contributed to Brewer’s eventual decision.          National condemnation of the bill had come from both sides of the political divide.

Speaking on MSNBC on Wednesday, Secretary of State John Kerry laid out the position of the Obama administration. "I’m counting on the governor and I cannot imagine how that law would withstand the scrutiny of the Supreme Court of the United States, so I would hope that she’ll make the right decision," he said.  

Arizona senator and former Republican presidential candidate John McCain also spoke out against the bill. "I know the entire business community is galvanised in a way I’ve never seen against this legislation," he said.

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