Opponents of the SB1062, a religious freedom bill, urged Gov. Brewer to veto the bill during a protest rally at the state Capitol, Feb. 21, 2014.
Cheryl Evans/The Arizona Republic/AP

Pressure rises over Arizona discrimination bill

Last week, Arizona’s Republican-led legislature became the first to pass a right-to-discriminate bill, sending the measure to Gov. Jan Brewer (R). Yesterday, with a national controversy unfolding, three GOP state senators who voted for the bill now want the governor to kill it.
“We feel it was a solution in search of a problem,” Sen. Bob Worsley, R-Mesa, said in an impromptu news conference outside the state Senate. He was joined by Sen. Steve Pierce, R-Prescott. The two, along with Senate Majority Whip Adam Driggs, R-Phoenix, sent Brewer a letter Monday morning asking for a veto.
 
“While our sincere intent in voting for this bill was to create a shield for all citizens’ religious liberties, the bill has instead been mischaracterized by its opponents as a sword for religious intolerance,” the three wrote. “These allegations are causing our state immeasurable harm.”
Note, these lawmakers aren’t saying, “Brewer should veto the bill because people in Arizona are entitled to basic human decency.” Instead, they’re effectively saying, “Brewer should veto the bill because liberals are mischaracterizing our good intentions.”
 
Sometimes, folks want to do the right thing for the wrong reasons.
 
Nevertheless, these three state senators are hardly the only ones calling on Brewer to veto the pending legislation. Indeed, private-sector leaders from Apple, American Airlines, Marriott Hotels, and the NFL also stepped up yesterday to call for the bill’s demise. The Arizona Chamber of Commerce denounced the measure the day after it passed the legislature.
 
Arizona’s two U.S. Senators, Republicans John McCain and Jeff Flake, also issued Tweets calling on Brewer to veto the proposal, known in Arizona as SB1062.
 
So, what’s the governor going to do?
 
Brewer’s office has received the bill, but the governor has been in Washington for a meeting of the National Governors Association. She has until the end of the week to either sign it or veto it.
 
We’ll know soon enough, but my best guess is that the governor not only intends to veto it, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if she were quietly encouraging the veto push, creating the political pressure she needs to kill the bill.
 
That way, when enraged social conservatives demand an explanation, Brewer can plausibly say the political environment simply made signing the bill too tall an order.
 
While we wait for word from Arizona, let’s also note that the list of states considering right-to-discriminate bills is growing, with Georgia becoming the 11th state to take up the idea.
 

Arizona, Discrimination, Gay Rights and Jan Brewer

Pressure rises over Arizona discrimination bill