MSNBC host Rachel Maddow said on Wednesday that Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer's (R) veto of the anti-LGBT SB 1062 bill pointed toward depper divisions in the GOP.
"She's got some Republicans from the legislature pulling her this way, some of those Republicans then changing their mind," Maddow said. "She's got Republican U.S. senators pulling her in a different direction. She's got conservative media pulling her in yet another direction. What do conservatives and Republicans believe on this issue? What of those beliefs is gonna be left in the past, and what are they evolving toward?"
While the bill was passed by a GOP-heavy legislature, she explained, several of them publicly reversed course on the issue as criticism grew around them. And the state's two Republican senators, Jeff Flake and John McCain, also exhorted Brewer to veto it.
But on the other side were conservative media outlets pushing Brewer to sign the bill into law, with right-wing radio host Rush Limbaugh, among others, complaining that she was being "bullied" in the name of "the gay agenda" and Fox News contributor Tucker Carlson calling it "fascism."
Maddow also wondered aloud whether Brewer's veto could spell the end of similar "religious freedom" laws in states like Kansas, Georgia, and South Dakota, among others, pointing out that Brewer emphasized in her statement explaining the veto that passing the bill would have a negative economic impact on Arizona; the state Chamber of Commerce, as well as several corporate and professional sports interests lined up in opposition to SB 1062.
"The reason she made that central to her veto message is presumably because of the kind of pressure that was brought to bear against the bill, once it got to her desk," Maddow said. "It wasn't just proponents of gay rights and civil libertarians who were against this thing."
But beyond the impact on Arizona and the other states dealing with similar bills, Maddow said, the debate around SB 1062 shows that conservatives still have not figured out how to approach gay rights and other cultural issues.
"When Governor Brewer made this veto announcement tonight, she was essentially standing astride the chasm in the Republican party and in the conservative movement on this issue," Maddow said.
Watch Maddow's commentary, as aired Wednesday on MSNBC, below.