Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, a conservative Republican, is now expected to veto a bill that would let business owners refuse to serve gay and lesbian customers, as long as the denial is based on their claimed religious beliefs.
NBC News reports that three sources “close to the governor and familiar with her thinking” said they believe she will veto SB 1062. One of the sources told NBC that the economic repercussions of enacting such legislation will likely play a large role in her decision. Brewer’s political adviser Chuck Coughlin said, “It’s been her proclivity in the past to focus on the priorities she wants them [the Legislature] to accomplish,” and the much-criticized measure “was clearly not part of her agenda.”
Brewer is flying back to Phoenix Tuesday afternoon from the National Governors Association meetings in Washington. According to Coughlin, she will meet with individuals from both sides of the legislation conversation on Wednesday. Her final decision is expected to come on Thursday or Friday.
Brewer took no stand but informed CNN that she would be closely reviewing the bill before making her final decision.
"I have to look at what it says and what the law says and take that information and do the right thing," she said.
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The bill was sent to Brewer on Monday, and she has five days to sign it or veto it. If she does nothing at all, the bill automatically becomes law after the five days, reports CNN.
Arizona’s legislature – with both houses majority Republican – has been pressuring the governor to pass the legislation. The measure was overwhelmingly approved last week, but it has sparked backlash from many companies, organizations and political figures. The largest concern is that – much as happened after Arizona passed its immigration law in 2010 – the state’s economy will take a blow if the legislation becomes law. Arizona lost an estimated $140 million in business and tourism revenue after passing the illegal immigrant crackdown, an outcome many officials and business interests are worried will be repeated.
Apple – which recently announced plans to open a new manufacturing facility in Arizona – requested that the governor veto the so-called religious freedom bill. The tech giant's new sapphire glass manufacturing plant is expected to bring more than 2,000 engineering, manufacturing and construction jobs to the Phoenix suburb of Mesa, reports Padgadget. Intel, American and Delta airlines and many other corporations have also spoken out against it.
The Arizona Super Bowl Committee has also asked the governor to veto the legislation. Arizona will be hosting the 2015 Super Bowl and even the NFL has jumped into the conversation, releasing the statement below:
“Our policies emphasize tolerance and inclusiveness, and prohibit discrimination based on age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other improper standard. 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.”
Both of Arizona's Republican U.S. senators, John McCain and Jeff Flake, have urged the governor to veto the bill, along with Mitt Romney, who carried the state in the 2012 presidential election. Former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich chimed in Tuesday, saying in a tweet that he would veto the measure.