1.31 a.m. CEST Latest Update: Friday, Feb.28, 2014 6.12 p.m. CEST
In a short statement delivered at Arizona State Capitol in Phoenix, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer (R), vetoes suggested Senate Bill 1062. Governor Brewer stated, “SB 1062 does not address concerns related to religious liberty in Arizona.”
In the past weeks, this bill creates discussion and raises various questions on the necessity for such legislation. In Brewer’s Letter to the President of Arizona Senate, Andy Biggs she explains the law does not addresses a specific and present concern related to business in Arizona.
Governor Brewer further states business community opposed the law, as the law could result in “negative consequences.” She shares concerns that Obama administration and other federal actions that “encroach religious freedoms.”
Earlier, Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Brewer’s veto recognizes “inclusive leadership is really what the 21st century is all about.” Sen John McCain appreciated Governor Brewer decision to veto the law.
While encouragement for the veto arrived from Clinton and McCain, those who initiated the bill to legislators express disappointment with Brewer’s veto.
In the written reaction after the Governor’s Brewer veto, Center for Arizona Policy, an organization that aims to protect family values, Cathi Herrod writes the veto means said day for those in Arizona who “cherish and understand religious liberty.”
In fact, this organization that represents influential lobby and it is perceived as a “conservative advocacy group,” through the statement of Herrod writes: “SB 1062 made certain that governmental laws cannot force people to violate their faith unless it has a compelling governmental interest–a balancing of interests that has been in federal law since 1993.”
On Friday Feb.28,2014, Washington Post explains the core of the vetoed bill. “The Arizona measure amended the state’s version of the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act , which passed with broad bipartisan support in 1993 and says that the government may not pass a law that substantially burdens a person’s exercise of religion, ” adds WP.
What is the content of the vetoed bill?
SB1062 introduces a couple of measures to freedom of religion.
According to the bill, to exercise the religion means: “to practice of observance of religion, including the ability to act or refusal to act in a way substantially motivated by religious beliefs, whether or not to exercise is a compulsory or central system of beliefs.”
Under the bill, a person can be: ”individual, association, partnership, corporation, church, religious assembly, institution or other business organization. “
Nevertheless, the bill says that a “person is prevented from using another person’s property in a way that the person finds satisfactory to fulfill the person’s religion mission.”
In other words, that means that a person could not serve, or it might close the business for another person on the base of her/his devout believe. Although, a person whose godly exercise is burdened in violation may assert that violation as a claim or defense in court.
Republicans say they need the bill to: “protect people who have legitimate religious objections to gay marriage. Democrats argue it will be “license to discriminate.”
Arizona Legislature passed SB1062 on Thursday, February 20, 2014, and it has provoked discussions and debate nationwide. Legislature passed the bill Thursday, February, 20 with 33-27 votes.
The Senate read the bill in Senate on January 14. On February 19, State Senate passed the bill, then on February 20. House passed the bill. Prominent members of Arizona’s Republican Party members and Senators opposed the bill in the past days. Among them are Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake.
Even though the bill does not mention sex, race or religion opponents to the bill says it will hurt gay community, since they are already not mentioned in the Arizona Anti-discrimination law.
Senator Al Melvin in an interview with CNN stated the “bill was preemptive” and that those who voted for the law “want to prevent religious freedom,” upon “all pillars of society are under attack.”
Governor Brewer decision came in the legal framework of days she has to decide on the bill, although after unconfirmed claims, the National Football League could search for another site for 2015 Super Bowl, scheduled for Arizona.
The proposed bill created numerous reactions inside the business community. Other organizations, such as Hispanic National Bar Association said they could cancel their activities or conferences, scheduled for Arizona.
Bills or legislation with similar content like SB1062 to relates with religious beliefs surfaced in: Georgia, Idaho, Missouri, Mississippi, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Colorado, Kansas, Maine, Tennessee, and Utah.
Later, on Friday, February 28, 2014 Mother Jones online publishes Georgia refrains from the idea for the bill. “Sam Teasley, the first sponsor listed on the bill, told Mather Jones that he has taken the controversial language out of the bill.” According to Teasley’s statement for Mother Jones, the “bill is now identical to the longstanding federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Nevertheless, the bill that is in the House of Representatives in Georgia, “would allow business owners who believe homosexuality is a sin to openly discriminate against gay Americans by denying them employment or banning them from restaurants and hotels.”
The SB1062 bill in Arizona vetoed by Governor of Arizona, provoked reactions, not only in the business community, but also in the small business sector. For example, a local pizza places in Tucson. AZ posted a sign that refuse the service to Arizona Legislature.
Here is the Tweet with the sign:
Celebration at Arizona State Capitol upon Brewer’s decision to veto the SB1062.