“Arizona Governor Jan Brewer came under mounting pressure on Tuesday from other prominent Republicans and consultants to veto a controversial bill described by critics as a license to discriminate against gays and others in the name of religion,” David Schwartz reports for Reuters. “Brewer has yet to say publicly whether she will sign or veto the bill, which would allow business owners to cite their personal religious beliefs as legal justification for refusing to serve same-sex couples or any other prospective customers.”
“The measure passed the Republican-controlled state legislature last week, putting Brewer in the crosshairs of a contentious political debate at a time when she has sought to ease partisan discord while focusing on efforts to revive Arizona’s economy,” Schwartz reports. “Two outside political consultants to Brewer told Reuters they had each urged her to veto the measure, with one saying her track record on such issues made him think she was leaning in that direction. But both stressed no decision had been taken by Brewer.”
“Supporters of the Arizona measure argue that business owners, however, remain vulnerable to lawsuits should they refuse for religious reasons to provide services to gay couples,” Schwartz reports. “Under the legislation, a business would be immune to a discrimination lawsuit if a decision to deny service was motivated by a ‘sincerely held’ religious faith and if providing service would substantially burden the exercise of those belief.”
“In a sign of the growing unease over the measure, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican nominee for president, weighed into the debate via Twitter on Tuesday: ‘veto of #SB1062 is right,'” Schwartz reports. “Another former Republican candidate for president, Arizona Senator John McCain, said earlier on CNN that passage of the bill ‘hurts the image of the state… This is going to hurt the state of Arizona’s economy, and frankly, our image. So, I hope that the governor of Arizona will veto this and we move on,’ he said, adding that he has not talked directly with Brewer about the proposal… Brewer spokesman Andrew Wilder said Apple Inc had also requested a veto in a conversation with the governor over the weekend. Three Republican state senators said on Monday they had reconsidered their support for the bill, and urged a veto.”
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