Ariz. Gov. Brewer vetoes anti-gay bill

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Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer announced today that she has vetoed a controversial bill that would have allowed business owners in the state to refuse to serve gays and others if those customers somehow offended the proprietors’ religious beliefs.

The bill set off a national debate over gay rights, religion and discrimination and subjected the state to blistering criticism from major corporations and political leaders from both parties. A similar bill in Utah would likely have passed during this year’s legislative session, but was included in a moratorium of bills related to sexual orientation and gender identity by Republican leaders.

Brewer, a Republican, announced her decision following a flurry of meetings with state legislators, saying the bill “does not address a specific or current concern related to religious liberty in Arizona.”

Brewer had been pressed by leaders of Arizona’s business community and some of her fellow Republican lawmakers to reject the legislation, known as SB 1062. Republican strategist Jaime Molera said business leaders believed a veto would help buttress Arizona’s reputation nationally — and avoid a repeat of the boycotts that followed enactment in 2010 of the controversial immigration legislation known as SB1070.

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