Citing the lack of examples where a business’ religious freedom was being violated under current law and the concept that the broadly worded bill could have unintended negative consequences, Arizona Governor Janet Brewer vetoed SB 1062 on Wednesday evening, February 26, 2014.
The Governor issued a statement, which included the following:
Senate Bill 1062 does not address a specific and present concern related to religious liberty in Arizona. I have not heard of one example in Arizona where a business owner’s religious liberty has been violated.
“The bill is broadly worded and could result in unintended and negative consequences.
“After weighing all of the arguments, I vetoed Senate Bill 1062 moments ago.
“To the supporters of the legislation, I want you to know that I understand that long-held norms about marriage and family are being challenged as never before.
“Our society is undergoing many dramatic changes. However, I sincerely believe that Senate Bill 1062 has the potential to create more problems than it purports to solve.
“It could divide Arizona in ways we cannot even imagine and no one would ever want.
“Religious liberty is a core American and Arizona value, so is non-discrimination.
“Going forward, let’s turn the ugliness of the debate over Senate Bill 1062 into a renewed search for greater respect and understanding among ALL Arizonans and Americans.
For more information on SB 1062, see “Arizona SB 1062 is a Bad Idea and Should Be Vetoed!” (ReligiousLiberty.TV)
The bill is the latest of several similar state bills, designed to give businesses the opportunity to use religion as a basis for refusing to serve customers, to be shelved or defeated in 2014, including bills in Idaho and Kansas. Similar legislation has been considered in Ohio, Mississippi, Idaho, South Dakota, Tennessee and Oklahoma.
These bills have grown in response to the Hobby Lobby case currently pending before the United States Supreme Court on whether businesses should be forced to pay for insurance coverage for contraception under ObamaCare when the owners of the businesses a religious objection to providing contraception, as well as in response to a New Mexico Supreme Court case involving a Christian photographer (Elane Photography) who was fined for refusing to photograph a same-sex commitment ceremony. The photographer’s case is currently on a writ of appeal to the United States Supreme Court on the issue of whether people should be forced to create speech that violates their conscience and presents a narrower issue for the Court, should it decide to hear the case.