• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
3m 27s

Arizona governor vetoes controversial bill

By CBS News 5:50 PM February 26, 2014

Brewer said she understood that many people are concerned by the changes taking part in society, but she said the measure was not the solution.

PHOENIX - In a decision watched across the nation, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer said Wednesday she has vetoed a controversial bill that would have allowed businesses to refuse to serve gays on religious grounds.

Brewer said she had made her decision after consulting with her lawyers and both opponents and supporters of Senate Bill 1062.

“My agenda is to sign into law legislation that advances Arizona,” the Republican governor told reporters. “I call them like I seem them despite the tears or the boos from the crowd.”

Supporters said the measure would protect religious freedom. But opponents said it would allow business owners to discriminate against gays, lesbians and others.

Brewer said she was supporter of religious liberty, but she questioned the need for such a law and expressed concern that it could be misapplied.

“Senate Bill 1062 does not address a specific and present concern related to religious liberty in Arizona,” Brewer said at an news conference. “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.”

Brewer said she understood that many people are concerned by the changes taking part in society, but she said the measure was not the solution.

“I sincerely believe that Senate Bill 1062 has the potential to create more problems than it purports to solve,” she said. “It could divide Arizona in ways we cannot even imagine and no one would ever want.”

Loud cheers erupted outside the Capitol building immediately after Brewer made her announcement.

The Republican-backed bill was passed by both chambers of the Legislature and landed on Brewer’s desk on Monday. She had until Friday to make a decision on the bill. But with each passing day, the groundswell of criticism of the bill grew even more. The controversy was soon dominating social media and making national headlines.

Many Arizona business organizations lobbied against the proposed legislation, saying it would discourage national groups from hosting events there. On Wednesday, the Hispanic National Bar Association said it would move its 2015 national convention, which had been slated for Phoenix.

National corporations doing business in Arizona, including Apple, American Airlines and Marriott, called for a veto. The Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee warned that the bill, if it became law, could jeopardize plans for the state to host next year’s Super Bowl.

Just hours before Brewer announced her decision, Major League Baseball issued a stern statement showing its disapproval of the measure.

“As the sport of Jackie Robinson, Major League Baseball and its 30 Clubs stand united behind the principles of respect, inclusion and acceptance. Those values are fundamental to our game’s diverse players, employees and fans. We welcome individuals of different sexual orientations, races, religions, genders and national origins,” the statement said.

“MLB has a zero-tolerance policy for harassment or discrimination based on sexual orientation,” it said.

The Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, one of the many business groups that had opposed the measure, said it was pleased by the governor’s veto.

“We want to continue to send the message that our great state is a welcoming place for all people to live, visit and do business,” President and CEO Todd Sanders said in a statement.

But Cathi Herrod of the Center for Arizona Policy, who helped craft the bill, called it “a sad day for Arizonans who cherish and understand religious liberty.”

Herrod told CBS News earlier that the measure was intended to protect religious freedom, not encourage discrimination.

“1062 is about one thing and one thing only: that Americans, Arizonans, should be free to live and work according to their faith,” she said.

Brewer’s office was swamped with more than 20,000 calls and emails trying to sway her decision. Gay rights activists dropped off petitions against the bill with more than 60,000 signatures, all gathered in the last 24 hours, CBS affiliate KPHO said.
© 2014 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Latest Stories

  • News

    Red Cross of Alaska speaks out for Giving Tuesday

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Nov 27, 22:48

    After Thanksgiving, shoppers have a number of opportunities to save big: first there’s Black Friday, then Small Business Saturday and finally, Cyber Monday. Many use the sales in stores and online as a chance to get deals on Christmas presents for their loved ones, but the Red Cross of Alaska says Giving Tuesday is another […]

  • News

    Thousands turn out for Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony in Downtown Anchorage

    by Daniella Rivera on Nov 27, 22:37

    Friday night, thousands packed Town Square Park for the annual AT&T Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony, marking the official start of the holiday season in Anchorage. Alaskans enjoyed free hot cocoa and cookies, kids got to meet Santa Claus and his reindeer, and Alaskans gave back through donations to Toys for Tots. Live music was provided by […]

  • News

    Eagle River women turn to Kickstarter to fund indoor dog park

    by Bonney Bowman on Nov 27, 20:42

    Thousands of Alaskan dog owners know around this time of year it can be tough to get your dog enough exercise. Whether it’s cold and icy or wet and muddy, conditions aren’t always ideal for a long walk. That’s what inspired Alyssa Oehmke and Melanie Wallace to found the Alaska Canine Club, an indoor dog park. […]

  • News

    Locally-owned Anchorage stores brace for ‘Small Business Saturday’

    by Liz Raines on Nov 27, 18:18

    Although Black Friday had a low turnout in Anchorage this year, many local businesses say they’re banking on Saturday sales. “‘Small Business Saturday’ is always the big push, people come out in full force which is awesome, we appreciate that, completely,” said Annie Ciszak Pazar, owner of Bella Boutique in Spenard. “You know they call […]

  • News

    Colorado Planned Parenthood shooting suspect in custody, 3 dead

    by CBS/AP on Nov 27, 18:10

    COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – An alleged gunman surrendered to police Friday, five hours after he opened fire at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs. Police Lt. Catherine Buckley said two civilians and one police officer were killed. The officer was from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs police department, which was among the local […]

  • News

    Dangerous avalanche conditions continue across Southcentral Alaska

    by Heather Hintze on Nov 27, 17:39

    Warm, above-average temperatures mixed with wet, heavy snow have created extremely unsafe backcountry conditions across much of Southcentral Alaska. Avalanche forecaster Wendy Wagner wouldn’t venture into the Turnagain backcountry to check conditions on Friday. “We won’t even go off the road,” she explained. “We spend our time driving and looking for debris piles because you […]

  • Crime

    Spring Creek inmate faces attempted murder, assault charges

    by Shannon Kemp on Nov 27, 15:46

    A man already serving time at the Spring Creek Correctional Center for attempted murder has been charged with assaulting and attempting to murder a fellow inmate. The alleged assault occurred on Aug. 4, when 47-year-old Mark Spencer attacked a 41-year-old inmate at the correctional center in Seward. The victim was “cut seriously,” according to an […]

  • News

    Man reportedly pulls gun at Anchorage Lowe’s when asked to provide receipt

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Nov 27, 14:05

    A man reportedly pulled a gun at an Anchorage Lowe’s on Black Friday after an employee asked to see the man’s receipt for a power tool. The man walked into the Tudor Road store and grabbed a DeWalt power tool, according to a Lowe’s employee who asked not to be named. At one point, a […]