Arizona lawmaker who voted for anti-gay bill now wants it vetoed or repealed

By Tom Boggioni
Monday, February 24, 2014 8:16 EDT
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Jan Brewer speaks to KPNX
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As Arizonans wait to see if Gov. Jan Brewer will sign the recently passed bill legalizing anti-LGBT discrimination, a state senator who voted for the bill now admits it was a mistake and would like to see it vetoed or repealed.

According to Sierra Vista Herald, State Sen. Steve Pierce R-Prescott told Capitol Media Services on Sunday that he now thinks the controversial legislation is a bad idea.

“I screwed up,” he told Capitol Media Services. “I’m trying to make it right.”

The bill, SB 1062, would expand the the rights of business owners to assert their religious beliefs by refusing service to gays and others.

Arizona laws already allow businesses to claim exemption from a state statute or regulation because of “sincerely held” religious beliefs. The recently passed bill would extend that to situations where a business owner faces a civil suit by someone denied service.

Pierce, who provided one of the votes to approve the measure, joins a growing chorus of lawmakers and business leaders urging Gov. Brewer to veto the measure.

Over the weekend U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) weighed in with a tweet urging Gov. Brewer to not approve the measure which passed with only Republican votes.

Glenn Hamer, president of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry,  said on Sunday that  Brewer should kill the bill which would be detrimental to business.

Kristin Jarnagin, vice president of the Arizona Lodging and Tourism Association, said the unsigned bill has already resulted in cancelled trips to the state

“We have already lost untold amounts of tax dollars due to the negative perception that this legislation attaches to our state’s image, and the bill hasn’t even been signed into law yet,” she said. Her organization wants Brewer to veto the measure, “so that we can put this behind us swiftly and continue the business of welcoming visitors to Arizona.”

Cathi Herrod, president of the Center for Arizona Policy and designer of the legislation, is trying convince Brewer to ignore the critics. Herrod is attacking the foes of the legislation at foes whom she says, “have hijacked this discussion through lies, personal attacks and irresponsible reporting.”

“Simply put, the fear-mongering from opponents is unrelated to the language of the bill, and proves that hostility towards people of faith is very real,” she wrote in an email to supporters.

Sen. Pierce, who had previously been the Arizona State Senate president, now believes that the bill was a mistake and would prefer that the measure be brought up again.

“I would be on board to get it repealed,” he said.

Tom Boggioni
Tom Boggioni
Tom Boggioni is based in the quaint seaside community of Pacific Beach in less quaint San Diego. He writes about politics, media, culture, and other annoyances. Mostly he spends his days at the beach gazing at the horizon waiting for the end of the world, or the sun to go down. Whichever comes first.
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