After days of protests and criticism levied against her state, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) said on Wednesday that she vetoed SB 1062, which would have effectively legalized discrimination based on religious grounds.
Brewer said she had not heard of one example of religious freedoms being attacked without the bill, considered it broadly worded, and did not address any specific concerns.
She further said that SB 1062 “has the potential to create more problems than it purports to solve” and would be divisive “to a degree that no one would ever want.”
Brewer was reportedly in emergency meetings earlier in the day concerning the bill, which was passed by the GOP-dominated state legislature earlier this month, prompting not only objections by residents, businesses, and fellow Republicans, but threats of a boycott from prominent actor and activist George Takei and the prospects of the National Football League moving the Super Bowl out of the state in response.
“I call them like I see them, despite the ceers or the boos from the crowd,” Brewer said before announcing the veto, stressing that she spoke to lawmakers and citizens on both sides of the ideological dispute surrounding the bill.
Update, 8:10 p.m. EST: The conservative Center for Arizona Policy, which supported the bill as it made its way through the state legislature, released a statement expressing sadness for Brewer’s actions.
“SB 1062 passed the legislature for one reason only: to guarantee that all Arizonans would be free to live and work according to their faith,” the statement read. “Opponents were desperate to distort this bill rather than debate the merits. Essentially, they succeeded in getting a veto of a bill that does not even exist.”
Update, 7:56 p.m. EST: The LGBT advocacy group GetEQUAL released a statement conveying measured praise toward Brewer for her decision.
“It is clear that this bill would have hurt business, caused unnecessary controversy, and — most importantly — increased the suffering of LGBTQ people in Arizona,” the group’s co-director, Felipe Sousa-Rodríguez was quoted as saying. “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.”
Sousa-Rodríguez noted Brewer’s support for SB 1070, the anti-immmigrant law which was mostly struck down by the Supreme Court in 2012, as well as her executive order banning state drivers’ licenses for young immigrants covered by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Watch video from Brewer’s short statement, as published by CNN, below.