The day after Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed a bill that would have made it legal to discriminate against gays and lesbians (or anyone, in fact) on religious grounds, she was praised by both her fellow Republicans and by Democrats.
Former Secretary of State and presumed 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton praised Brewer’s decision only hours after she vetoed the bill Wednesday afternoon. In the opening moments of a speech at the University of Miami on Wednesday night, Clinton used Brewer’s decision to veto the bill as a jumping off point to discuss the rights of LGBT Americans.
“Thankfully the governor of Arizona has vetoed the discriminatory legislation that was passed, recognizing that inclusive leadership is really what the 21st century is all about,” Clinton said opening her speech, according to CNN.
“It is the work of this century to complete the unfinished business of making sure that every girl and boy and every woman and man lives in societies that respect their rights no matter who they are, respects their potential and their talents, gives them the opportunities that every human being deserves, no matter where you were born, no matter the color of your skin, no matter your religion, your ethnicity, or whom you love,” Clinton continued.
Brewer’s veto was praised within Arizona as well, including from Jim Kolbe, an openly gay Republican former congressman from Tucson.
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"I felt all along that when she weighed all the issues that she would do exactly what she did," Kolbe said Thursday on MSNBC's "The Daily Rundown." "She's right. It's not necessary. It harms the reputation of the state of Arizona, and it would be economically very damaging to the state. It's not the right thing to do."
Kolbe also said the Republican Party’s refusal to embrace gays and lesbians will only continue to harm the party’s reputation with a nation that is increasingly in favor of same-sex marriage.
"It just makes it more difficult for us to expand that majority," he said. "I'm not all-or-nothing, and I certainly have supported Republicans who have not been for gay marriage, but I think we're moving in that direction. But there are some who just go beyond the pale in terms of their positions they take on this, and I have not supported them."
On the other side, the conservative Center for Arizona Policy, which helped craft the bill, called its veto “a sad day for Arizonans who cherish and understand religious liberty.” The organization continued to claim that the proposed law was intended to support religious liberty, not discrimination.
"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," the group's president, Cathi Herrod, said in a statement. "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."