Gov Brewer Won’t Say if She’ll Sign Bill Allowing Business to Refuse Service Based on Religious Beliefs

Governor Jan Brewer

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer won’t say if she’ll sign the bill which would allow businesses to refuse service based on religious beliefs.

Her only comment was that the bill was “very controversial” and that she “needs to get my hands around it.”

Meanwhile the Arizona Commerce Authority is chiming in against the bill.

The bill puts the Republican governor in a pretty political pickle. It forces her to chose between the Republican Party’s vote-getting base of conservative religious, and its corporate/chamber of commerce money men.

According to an article in USA Today, Governor Brewer has until Friday to decide.

From USA Today:

Arizona’s governor is watching an intense debate from afar over a controversial bill that would allow the use of religious beliefs as a basis for refusing service without fear of lawsuits.

The Arizona Legislature passed Senate Bill 1062 on Thursday and the bill could reach Gov. Jan Brewer’s desk as early as Monday, giving her next week to consider how she will sign or veto it.

The Republican governor, who is attending a conference of governors from across the USA in the nation’s capital, rarely comments on bills before they reach her desk.

She spoke Friday with CNN: “Well, it’s a very controversial piece of legislation. We know that. We know that it’s failed in a lot of states across the country. … I’ve been reading about it on the Internet, and I will make my decision some time before … by next Friday … if I do decide to sign it.

“But it’s very controversial, so I’ve got to get my hands around it,” Brewer said.

Socially conservative groups that oppose gay marriage are promoting the twin bills, SB 1062 and HB 2153. GOP state Sen. Steve Yarbrough created his bill in response to a New Mexico Supreme Court decision against a photographer who refused to take a gay couple’s wedding pictures.

In a letter sent Friday to Brewer’s office, Phoenix area economic officials raise concerns that the bill, which shields businesses from being sued if they deny service based on religious beliefs, could cast a negative light on the state as it prepares to host a number of high-profile events, including next year’s Super Bowl.

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  • kenofken

    No mainstream convention business or corporate event will touch Arizona with a barge pole if they pass that law, and a fair amount of tourism will go with it. For all that, Brewer will get her name on a couple of laws which will be invalidated by a federal court before the ink is dried. Lecacy time, Gov. Brewer. Choose carefully.

    • hamiltonr

      Is this going to close the Grand Canyon? Will winters suddenly go cold in Phoenix? As for conventions, I am weary with corporatist interests dictating the laws. Maybe they should put it on the ballot and let the people decide.

      • kenofken

        They can put it on the ballot all they want. They can get a 99.999% margin in favor, but neither the people nor elected representatives have the power to legislate away basic Fourteenth Amendment rights or to create a second class caste of citizens within the most basic areas of the public sphere like access to public accommodation goods and services. Would boycotts strangle all of the state’s tourism? By no means. But it would put a dent in the flow of out of state dollars that no state needs these days. Brewer realizes the cost/benefit ratio politically and economically is dicey, at best. Her hesitation to sign this bill is evidence of that.

        • oregon nurse

          Then again, tourism might actually increase in a show of populist support.

          • Barbara

            It could go either way. There seem to be a lot of people who, regardless of their stand on Gay marriage, oppose the strong arm tactics of these “Hurt Feelings” lawsuits and will support Arizona’s actions on principle. Americans hate being told what to do and how to think.

          • FW Ken

            You have to think about what happened with Chick fil-a and Duck Dynasty. Lots of sound and fury, but in the end, it backfired.

        • Theodore Seeber

          How can you use the Fourteenth Amendment to destroy the 1st?

    • FW Ken

      We heard the same spiel over the immigration bill in Arizona a few years ago. I wonder if that boycott was a bust?

    • Theodore Seeber

      Gay pride parades are not “mainstream convention business”.

  • daveofthetowers

    This is just more “hate” legislation and Brewer should veto it regardless of the corporate take on the bill. Just use common sense people and love one another as the Lord told us to do. Ms. Hamilton, I respect you and often read your column but your argument about the Grand Canyon and cold winters tells me you have been watching too much Fox (News) Television. Your arguments are usually more thoughtful. God Bless.

    • hamiltonr

      I was just trying to say that the reasons for tourism in Arizona have nothing to do with politics and everything to do with the state’s beauty and climate. FWIW, I haven’t watched any television, news or otherwise, in a couple of weeks. Too busy.

      • daveofthetowers

        Whoops! Maybe I have been watching too much Fox ;-(. (A mind is a terrible thing to waste!) I enjoy your blog! Thanks and Good Luck in your pursuits in the legislature and on-line. PAX.

        • hamiltonr

          Thank you.

  • FW Ken

    The simplest thing to have done is say honestly what this is really about: wedding providers won’t have to service weddings they find objectionable. Yes, that means 2nd or 3rd marriages, off-brand religious weddings, or whatever, although the issue is same-sex unions. We all know that.

    Bullying Christians into doing their “weddings” is about social power, not discrimination.

    • axelbeingcivil

      Thing is, this is creating a special class of citizens that it’s okay to discriminate against, or protecting a special mode of conscience that allows people to discriminate.

      You can’t really have it both ways; either we agree that businesses on public thoroughfares cannot discriminate arbitrarily (and, yes, religion counts as an arbitrary reason, same as any other; the reason must demonstrably interfere with their business or create an unreasonable work environment), or we agree that they can. If the former, you can’t really provide a special exemption. If the latter, you can’t prohibit people from discriminating at all.

      • FW Ken

        No, we can agree that not all “discrimination” is worthy of special protection. But you missed my point, which is to discriminate against the deed, not the person.

      • oregon nurse

        The problem is that businesses do get to discriminate, just not against special protected classes. Remember that the next time you see a no smoking sign, or a no pets allowed sign, or a cash only sign in a private walk-in business. See, they are not discriminating against the ‘person’ (pet owners are welcome without their pets), they are discriminating against ‘behavior’ or a ‘thing’ the person is doing, same as the ssm issue. IOW, a baker would refuse to bake a ss wedding cake (the thing) even if the person ordering it was the straight mother of the bride. It’s not about a refusal to serve gays at all, any more than a no smoking rule is a refusal to serve a smoker who isn’t smoking.

        That’s why I find the comparisons to black discrimination so offensive. Blacks were discriminated against just in their being black, not for any particular ‘black’ behavior.

        • radiofreerome

          Men and women are discriminated against for appearing gay or lesbian, Dear. The assumption of “behavior” as you made of me, is frequently just an assumption.

      • Theodore Seeber

        The violence of gay activists has proven to me that businesses on public thoroughfares should be allowed to discriminate arbitrarily for the protection of their other patrons.

        And what’s next? Pedophile activists wanting non-discrimination clauses in employment in daycare centers?

        After all, nobody gave them consent to do this or this, and yet nobody seems to have been sent to jail over either one, so it’s clearly legal when gays do it.

        • axelbeingcivil

          Logically, if it’s for their patron’s protection, it isn’t arbitrary, is it? If you can demonstrate that a potential patron is causing or seeking to cause violence to you, your patrons, or your property, you are within your rights to exclude them. This is, in fact, already law in the entirety of the United States and, to my knowledge, the developed world in general. “Gay activists” aren’t actually trying to change that, so that argument’s a non-starter.

          Also, in future, please don’t embarrass yourself or the people who might otherwise agree with you by comparing a consensual relationship between adults and a criminal act in which one party cannot give consent. It will also avoid insulting gay people by comparing them to rapists.

  • axelbeingcivil

    If you’re going to allow one group the freedom to discriminate, you must allow all groups. Arizona cannot provide special protections for those who want to discriminate against gays without also providing special protections for those who want to discriminate on the grounds of race or gender. This law will inevitably be challenged, cost the government money, and just as inevitably be defeated. The governor saves herself and her state and its people time and money by not signing it.

  • oregon nurse

    I think she will call it too broad (it is) and send it back to the lawmakers, thereby dodging bullets from both camps.

  • Bill S

    The bill puts the Republican governor in a pretty political pickle. It forces her to chose between the Republican Party’s vote-getting base of conservative religious, and its corporate/chamber of commerce money men.

    I don’t think she can be manipulate by either side since she won’t be up for re-election. I would think she would do what’s best for her state and not allow it to be run on ideologies.

  • Manny

    She’s turned out to be a wimp. My new favorite governor (besides Scott Walker) is the one up in Maine, Paul LaPage. Look him up. He would not have wimped out. ;)