Ariz. governor's veto splits GOP

Bill would have allowed businesses to turn away gays.
Associated Press
Feb 27, 2014


Gov. Jan Brewer's veto of a bill allowing businesses to refuse service to gays exposed a fracture within the Republican Party between social conservatives and the GOP's pro-business wing, a split that Democrats hope to turn into a midterm election campaign issue.

The Republican governor has made job creation and business expansion the centerpiece of her administration, and she was more than willing to disregard the wishes of social conservatives amid protests from major corporations such as American Airlines and Apple Inc. As a result, the GOP base was left dispirited, and opponents of gay marriage are struggling to find their footing after significant losses in the courts and statehouses.

"It's leading people to say: 'We're not sure where the Republican party is on something as basic as economic freedom,'" said Dan Holler, a spokesman for Heritage Action, a conservative group in Washington, D.C., that argued the proposal was aimed simply at allowing people to run businesses as they saw fit. "There certainly is a risk, especially as you head into the midterm elections, when the turnout of your base is essential."

Brewer vetoed the measure Wednesday night after Republicans ranging from Mitt Romney to her state's two U.S. Senators urged her to reject the measure, which emerged from the GOP-controlled state Legislature. The bill was designed to give added protection from lawsuits to people who assert their religious beliefs in refusing service to gays or others who offend their beliefs. Opponents called it an open attack on gays that invited discrimination.

Gay marriage is increasingly popular nationwide, and the Democratic Party already has been claiming that measures like the Arizona bill are a throwback to pre-civil rights era Jim Crow laws.

"Let's be really clear: Jan Brewer's veto of this bill was not exactly profiles in courage," Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, said in an interview. "She specifically referred to her concern being economic. This is one state in about 10 or 12 that this legislation is moving through the process, pushed by Republicans."

Following a series of court rulings striking down gay marriage bans in conservative states, several legislatures have considered bills to give more protection to businesses that turn away gay couples. But so far, Arizona is the only state where the legislation has reached the governor's desk.

The measures are inspired by the cases of a New Mexico wedding photographer and bakers in Colorado and Oregon who separately refused service for gay weddings or civil unions and have been penalized by courts.

After Brewer's veto, sponsors of similar legislation in Ohio said they'd withdraw their bill, and a Mississippi legislative panel proposed changes that would remove a key component of that state's measure.

Democrats argued that the GOP would pay a price for even considering such explosive legislation.

"This bill should have never gone this far, and the fact that it did shows how far to the right the Republican Party has lurched," said Rep. Steve Israel, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. "It is yet another reminder of the Republican brand of intolerance."

But Republican operatives in Arizona and elsewhere expressed doubt that the issue will have much of an impact eight months from now in the election. They also noted it was a Republican veto that kept it from becoming law.

"It's tough to go after Republicans on this because pretty much every Republican except those in the Arizona Legislature didn't support this," said Ross Hemminger co-executive director of GOProud, a Republican gay rights group.

Grant Woods, a Republican and former Arizona attorney general who is close to Brewer, acknowledged that the bill could have a national impact in terms of perpetuating a negative image of Arizona. But he said voters will see through the rhetoric.

"I think that people who are inclined to blame Republicans for everything will just use this as one more thing to blame them for," he said. "But for most people, they are going to understand this cuts both ways."

Underscoring the GOP's uncomfortable position, torn between its base and centrists horrified by the legislation, neither the Arizona Republican Party nor the Republican National Committee was willing to comment Thursday. A Pew Research Center survey last year found Republicans nationwide are evenly divided, 45-45, on whether homosexuality should be accepted. In contrast, more than two-thirds of Democrats and Independents said it should be accepted.

"I think those are issues that ultimately could galvanize a pretty big voting block to go out and get involved later in the year," Woods said. "And, certainly if these same people don't wake up on some of these basic issues of discrimination and equal protection, the time will come when they'll be taken out of office."

Democrats are battling against public dissatisfaction with President Barack Obama and his health care overhaul and could lose control of the U.S. Senate in November. But the Arizona legislation could boost them in at least the state's congressional races.

Democratic Rep. Anne Kirkpatrick is being challenged by Arizona House Speaker Andy Tobin and State Rep. Adam Kwasman, both of whom voted for the bill. Democratic Rep. Ron Barber has been attacking his opponent, retired Air Force Lt. Col. Martha McSally, for taking too long before speaking out against it.

Those electoral concerns, coupled with worries that the legislation could trigger a boycott of Arizona and tarnish its image, led to heavy pressure on Brewer to veto the bill.

Meanwhile, gay marriage foes who have seen repeated losses in conservative states over recent months — federal judges struck down same sex marriage bans in Oklahoma, Utah and Texas — were distraught.

"This is going to continue to be a major problem, and it's going to spread across the country," Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, said on Fox News after Brewer's veto. "Who's going to protect the rights of Christians and religious people? That's the question that has to be answered."


Associated Press writers Josh Lederman and Steve Peoples and Polling Director Jennifer Agiesta in Washington contributed to this report.


Follow Bob Christie at and Nicholas Riccardi at .



thinkagain's picture

No matter what our society may legislate, homosexuality is a sin. It always has been and it always will be.

Stop It

Heh. Were you foaming at the mouth hoping for a different outcome? Did your eyes and veins bulge out when your faith let you down once again?

thinkagain's picture

No, my faith and trust in God never wavers. Unlike the crisis in faith you experienced and the subsequent mental and physical breakdown that followed.

Stop It
Fri, 12/27/2013 - 5:05am - "I gave all my seven different copies of fiction away. Been through catholicism , protestant, baptist , fundamentalist, evangelicalism, and pentecostalism.?"

Blaming God for all your shortcomings is the easy way out. Man up and except responsibility for your lot in life. Your whiny, incoherent rant on the above date, ending with you rambling off a nursery rhyme, pretty much demonstrates “foaming at the mouth hoping for a different outcome”.


Meh. I think it's Christians who often don't accept responsibility. They cherry-pick Bible verses to use as justification for all sorts of immoral, discriminatory behavior (such as THIS particular topic). And where is the motivation for them to do what's right, when they know they can do anything bad, and get absolution later, by simply asking forgiveness?

Stop It

Wow. I'm flattered. You actually save quotes from those you despise. Thanx for saving me space upstairs....heh


And you are a bigot and always will be.


"Agency Charges Trucking Company Failed to Accommodate and Wrongfully Terminated Two Muslim Employees For Refusal to Deliver Alcohol Due to Religious Beliefs":

With the EEOC, it's important if one is a member of a PC religion.

And the Dems scratch their *sses and wonder why small business formation is down.


This has nothing to do with this article. You are comparing apples to oranges.


Re: "This has nothing,"

Point: Why would anyone want to start or remain in business with increasingly govt. mandated onerous rules and regs?

Not to worry, the ability to ask questions is not taught in school.

Mentally stopping at the 'obvious' is nothing to be ashamed of.


God created man and God created women for a reason!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Some of us don't believe in that man-made myth, and for us, that point means absolutely nothing.


All I can say is nasty.


That's how gay people feel about straight people sometimes.


It would be interesting to see a poll of American Ministers, Priests, etc. on this issue. (I'm just sayin'.)
By the way, "Where ARE their public voices in this matter?"


Coming soon:

The ruling progressive-socialists will demand that ALL religious institutions conduct LGBT marriages or risk losing their NFP tax status.


Do you really think Jesus would want a restaurant owner to refuse to serve a hungry man because he looks gay?


Reader; Excellent point. Thanks


If we are to be a free country EVERYONE must have the same rights with no discrimination. If Gay businesses discriminated against religious peole would that be fair?
Contango, The state cannot force the church to do a service that is against that religion. The state can only recognize marriage for tax purposes and IMHO they should keep their noses out of that too as you can see the mess the government has made of it.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." MLK


Re: "The state cannot force the church to do a service that is against that religion."

True, but they can remove their NFP tax status.

If a church is pro-Democrat and politically campaigns, they let 'em slide:!

Remember: The IRS tax code is used for social engineering purposes, not just to collect revenue.


well said and right on the money Donegan




Re: "would that be fair?"

Who gets to determine what "fair" is?


Contango...the general consensus of the population of course. Now then...let's hear some constructive ideas and comments from you rather than merely mimicry, mockery and generally rhetorical questions. Okay? can do better. (I hope.)


Re: "the general consensus of the population of course."

What about the tyranny of the majority?

"The most important intellectual ability man has yet developed - the art and science of asking questions - is not taught in school!"

- Neil Postman, "Teaching As A Subversive Activity"

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Dear Republicans:

Stop. Just stop. Please? In case party leadership hasn't figured out yet you will continue to lose elections because of these unnecessary social regulations, tweakings, and divisions. Nuh-uh-uh. Quiet. I know Democrats do it too. I'm not talking to them, I'm talking to you.

If you want more people to take you seriously, how about enacting laws that lead to understanding and improve communication instead of erecting walls? Despite what you may think a great majority of us ARE grown adults who can make our own decisions. There is no possible way to- HEY! Stop glaring at the Democrats. Eyes forward mister.

You can't possibly hope to understand nor control every small decision every person does, the vast, VAST majority of which are civil. We are a civil society, after all, and if you study your founders you'll see the concept of "spontaneous order" seems to have held up pretty well. That said, please stay out of our lives.

Where you as a governing body and we as individuals intersect is currency as we both consent it is what we want to trade to each other for goods and services. That should be your focus. That should be what you need to educate people about since many don't actually know how this stuff works even after going through government-run schools.

So yeah. Stop. Else you will continue to lose the younger generation or at least antiquate yourself. Stop crying. Yes, you have good aspects. We like those. But even if you feel like I'm yelling at the A student for getting a B more than a D student getting an F you are right. Maybe because that's because people actually expect better from you?

Take that as a compliment. Now straighten up and fly right. Ah, get it? See what I did there? There's a smile. Run along now.

Pterocarya frax...

Good luck getting them to do that.

At least you tried.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Thank you, I'll be sure to continue my efforts! I can use all the help I can get, though.

The Big Dog's back

Please do. I'll help where I can.


Re: "Please do. I'll help where I can."

(sarcasm on) Yes you have proven your ability to be helpful by you answering questions about statements you have made, while demanding others answer your questions. (sarcasm off)

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

If you mean it I will sincerely accept your help. I'm sick of it as I trend more toward that party if given a choice between the two. I should have voted my conscious for Johnson but instead held my nose, voted Romney, and threw up a little in my mouth.

I'm not on a quest to tear down the Republican Party, but what I wouldn't give to be able to project my voice just a bit louder and broader...



In '08, I 'litterly' flipped a coin between McCain and ex-Repub turned Libertarian Bob Barr.

Based on the results, I also 'held my nose' and cast my ballot for Barr.

The way I look at it is: Both of the majors take your vote for granted. The Libertarian Party appreciates each and every vote.

Pterocarya frax...

Charlie Earl will appreciate your vote for governor in 2014.


Tis why we need more parties, more choices. The 2 party system has brought us to where we are now. It has failed. We need more choices than the two "mainstream" parties. That and more power in the States and less in DC. Why comprimise your beliefs enough to fit into one of the two parties, which is really one... repubirats, or is it demonlicians?

thinkagain's picture

Satan speaks: “I expect Christians to betray their conscience, by condoning through silent acquiescence, an attack on the natural order and Christian morality.”

For the Christian to place any hope in political systems is naive at best. It’s the GOP, not the GOD party. The only advantage the Republican Party offers is that it is the lesser of two evils.

As Christians, we know that sin and immorality will eventually overtake the earth.

I will spend my days obeying Christ’s command to be salt and light to a lost and dying world. A work that every Christian can and must give themselves to.

Matthew 7:13-14


Yeah, it's real Christ-like to not feed starving children. It's real Christ-like to not want to educate them. It's real Christ-like to not help protect children and the elderly from abuse. And it's real Christ-like to not help people when they are ill.
Since we all sin everyday, sin took over the earth since Adam and Eve. Tell us, what are your sins? You seem to think you don't have any.


thinkagain, take your "matthew 7:13-14" and shove it.