Americans United for Separation of Church and StateArizona Gov. Jan Brewer made the right call in vetoing a harmful bill that would have granted business owners a right to discriminate against same-sex couples in the name of religion, Americans United for Separation of Church and State says.
Brewer announced this evening that she has vetoed Senate Bill 1062, which would have provided legal cover to business owners who did not want to serve gays, lesbians or anyone else who they claimed somehow offended their sincerely held religious beliefs.
“This bill didn’t protect religious freedom, it tied that noble principle up in knots,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. “Passage of this bill would have created Jim Crow 2.0 and made Arizona a desert devoid of real liberty. I’m glad to see it go.”
Americans United has been an outspoken critic of so-called “religious freedom” bills such as Arizona’s. AU explained that the measure was so broad it could have allowed for business owners to engage in blatant forms of discrimination. Had it passed, it would most certainly have led to numerous legal challenges.
“Gov. Brewer did her state a real favor,” Lynn said. “This legislation was a guarantee of full employment for civil-rights lawyers.”
The measure was heavily backed by the Center for Arizona Policy, an affiliate of the Religious Right organization Focus on the Family. Proponents falsely claimed that it was not discriminatory, but business leaders and others in the state begged to differ and said passage of the provision would likely lead to boycotts and a decrease in tourism.
Americans United continues to oppose similar measures in other states.
Americans United is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.