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Thursday
Feb272014

Arizona Governor Rejects Contentious Bill That Enraged Gays

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

(PHOENIX) -- With her state poised to take a huge economic hit, Arizona Republican Governor Jan Brewer rejected a bill Wednesday that would have given business owners the right to refuse service to homosexuals on religious grounds, the Arizona Daily Star reported.

Her decision came after meetings with the measure's supporters and opponents. Gov. Brewer had until Saturday to announce her decision, but said Wednesday that she had given careful consideration to the bill and concluded that the proposed law was too broad and "does not address a specific or present concern related to religious liberties in Arizona."

"The bill is broadly worded and could result in unintended consequences. After weighing all of the arguments, I have vetoed Senate bill 1062," Brewer said Wednesday at a news conference.

Ultimately, it was business and tourism interests, rather than the concerns of gays and lesbians, who held more sway with Brewer.
 
Initially approved by the state’s GOP-controlled Legislature, the measure, Senate Bill 1062, immediately ran into problems with the LGBT community as well as state business owners, many of whom took to social media to deride the bill.

In recent days, Republican companies including Apple, American Airlines, Marriot and even the NFL's Arizona Cardinals publicly expressed opposition to the bill.  

“There is genuine concern throughout the business community that this bill, if signed into law, would jeopardize all that has been accomplished so far,” Doug Parker, CEO of American Airlines, wrote in a letter to Brewer that was dated Feb. 24.

American Airlines, based in Fort Worth, Texas, merged with US Airways, which is based in Phoenix.

A spokesperson for Apple Inc. confirmed to ABC News that there was a call to Brewer from one of the company's top executives urging the governor to veto the bill. Apple is opening a plant in Mesa, Ariz., that is expected to create about 2,000 jobs.

Under pressure from all sides, Brewer, a Republican, said her decision was based on her agenda to continue the advancement of the state of Arizona.

"My agenda is to sign into law legislation that advances Arizona," Brewer said Wednesday. "I call them like I see them, despite the tears or the boos from the crowd."

Shortly after the news conference, Brewer tweeted about her decision:

As SB 1062 grabbed national headlines, a number of prominent Republicans, including Arizona U.S. Senator John McCain and Jeff Flake and 2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney, all called on Brewer to veto the bill that might have cost Arizona next year’s Super Bowl if a national boycott went into effect.
 
Afterwards, McCain issued a statement, “I appreciate the decision made by Governor Brewer to veto this legislation. I hope that we can now move on from this controversy and assure the American people that everyone is welcome to live, work and enjoy our beautiful state of Arizona.”
 
Meanwhile, state Senator Steve Yarbrough, who sponsored the bill, urged the governor to sign SB 1062 into law, arguing that “the business community has been misinformed, as well as a lot of other folks, about what the bill actually did.”
 
Chandler claimed law professors he had spoken to said it was not discriminatory.
 
Christian public interest law firm Alliance Defending Freedom was also disappointed in Brewer’s veto, contending that religious liberty has come under attack outside of places of worship.

The Arizona governor said the good thing about this outcome is that this sends a message to the rest of the country that "Arizona's a place that's good for everybody."

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio