Moments ago, at a press conference in Phoenix, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer announced that she has vetoed SB 1062, a bill that would have allowed religion-based anti-LGBT discrimination in the state.
Brewer bowed to enormous pressure in vetoing the bill. Local, state, and national lawmakers from both sides of the aisle; newspaper editorial boards, dozens and dozens of businesses and business groups, human rights advocacy organizations, the National Football League, Major League Baseball, LGBT advocates, and equality-minded citizens across the nation spoke out against discrimination and urged Brewer to kill the malicious measure.
But speaking about her decision, Brewer said "I call them like I see them, despite the cheers or the boos from the crowd." She continued:
"Senate Bill 1062 does not address a specific or present concern related to religious liberty in Arizona. 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.
"After weighing all the arguments, I vetoed Senate Bill 1062 moments ago.
"To the supporters of the legislation, I want you to know that I understand that long-held norms about marriage and family are being challenged as never before. Our society is undergoing many dramatic changes. However, I sincerely believe that Senate Bill 1062 has the potential to create more problems than it purports to solve. It could divide Arizona in ways we cannot even imagine and no one would ever want.
"Religious liberty is a core American and Arizona value, so is non-discrimination."
Governor Brewer did not take questions from reporters. Protesters outside cheered and hugged.
The Arizona measure is just one of many "special right to discriminate" bills that have been introduced in statehouses across the country over the past two months, many of which have been pushed by the so-called Alliance Defending Freedom, a virulently anti-LGBT legal group.
UPDATE: Governor Jan Brewer tweeted this picture of her vetoing SB 1062:
UPDATE 2: The full text of Governor Brewer's veto letter is after the jump.
UPDATE 3: Reactions from Arizona groups and major national LGBT organizations are after the jump.
UPDTE 4: Governor Brewer's prepared remarks from tonight's press conference are after the jump.
UPDATE 5: ThinkProgress reports that two Ohio lawmakers have withdrawn an Arizona-like measure. Republican State Rep. Tim Derickson said, "We feel that it is in the best interest of Ohioans that there be no further consideration of this legislation."
UPDATE 6: Video of Brewer's statement is now posted below.
Governor Jan Brewer SB 1062 Veto Letter
Governor Jan Brewer's Prepared Remarks, SB 1062 Veto
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
Rea Carey: "We thank Governor Brewer for her decision to veto this outrageous measure -- a law that if enacted would be bad for Arizona people and the Arizona economy. In doing so, she has stopped a bill that both cynically uses religion as a smokescreen to justify discrimination and insults people of faith who feel that discrimination is morally wrong. This decision sends a clear message that extremism is totally unacceptable to people of all political persuasions."
Co-executive director Felipe Sousa-Rodriguez: "Governor Jan Brewer stood on the right of history today by vetoing SB 1062. It is clear that this bill would have hurt business, caused unnecessary controversy, and -- most importantly -- increased the suffering of LGBTQ people in Arizona. We are relieved that she has shown leadership and vetoed a bill that is bad for business and bad for the people of Arizona.
However, we cannot forget the suffering that some of her other decisions have caused to immigrants, LGBTQ people and women. She signed SB 1070 into the law -- one of the most anti-immigrant laws in the country -- then signed an executive order denying driver's licenses for DREAM Act-eligible youth who received Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA). She has de-funded Planned Parenthood clinics and signed a bill prohibiting abortion after 18 weeks after conception. She has also backed a marriage equality ban in Arizona.
All of these issues are connected, and we stand in solidarity with immigrants and women in Arizona who continue to suffer following some of Governor Brewer's decisions. We will work hand-and-hand with them to create a more just and equal Arizona for all people. SB 1062 is only one of the many ways that right-wing politicians have attacked our community. GetEQUAL is committed to a long-term solution to improve the lives of LGBTQ people in Arizona."
Human Rights Campaign
Chad Griffin: "With today's veto, Governor Brewer spared her state from institutional discrimination and economic catastrophe. Make no mistake, there is no better way to doom jobs in a state than by signing license-to-discriminate bills. The bipartisan outpouring of opposition to this bill is all the proof you need that this country isn't turning backwards. Governor Brewer did the right thing in stopping this assault on businesses and the LGBT community and we call on her and the legislature--and governors and legislators in other states--to resist any attempt to give license to discrimination."
Arizona Democratic Party
DJ Quinlan, executive director: "SB1062 was a harmful bill that had no business seeing the light of day in 2014. We applaud Governor Jan Brewer for finally vetoing this bill-but she should not have waited so long. There is no telling how much damage was done by the mere threat of it becoming law and the unnecessary delay in the veto. This sad episode further demonstrates why we must elect Fred DuVal as Arizona's next governor. Arizona Democrats are committed to focusing on the issues that are of actual importance to the voters: jobs, education and opportunity."
ACLU of Arizona
"Discrimination has no place in Arizona, or anywhere else," said Alessandra Soler, executive director of the ACLU of Arizona. "We're grateful that the governor has stopped this disgraceful law from taking effect, and that Arizona will remain open for business to everyone."
The Arizona bill was passed last week following the defeat of similar bills in Maine, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Idaho.
"We strongly support the right of every person to exercise their religious beliefs, but religious freedom doesn't give any of us the right to harm others," said Eunice Rho, advocacy and policy counsel with the American Civil Liberties Union. "The massive public opposition to this, as well as several other failed bills across the country, shows that Americans of all political persuasions and religions feel the same way."
Sarah Kate Ellis: "Discrimination is not an American value, plain and simple. Governor Brewer today demonstrated that basic respect for LGBT people extends across party lines, and anti-LGBT bias isn't just bad politics, it's bad for business. As other states consider similar laws that aim only to make LGBT people's lives more difficult, legislators would do well to remember that anti-LGBT laws just won't be tolerated."