Arizona Governor Staff Worked on Anti-Gay Bill
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer’s staff worked with proponents of a bill that would have allowed businesses to refuse service to gays before the legislation was introduced in January, according to emails released by her office.
The meetings between Brewer’s legal counsel and policy director came as the Center for Arizona Policy tried to make changes to a bill that was vetoed last year to make it more palatable to the governor. As Senate Bill 1062 made its way through the Legislature last month, it drew fierce opposition from Democrats, gays, civil rights activists and later the business community.
Brewer vetoed the legislation on Feb. 26. In a brief statement, she said the bill "could divide Arizona in ways we could not even imagine and no one would ever want." She also said the bill was broadly worded and could result in unintended negative consequences.
Brewer’s veto came after companies including Apple Inc. and American Airlines and even national Republicans including Sen. John McCain urged her to veto the bill, saying it would hurt the state and could alienate businesses looking to expand there.
Emails released by the governor’s office show her staff met with representatives of the Center for Arizona Policy. Brewer spokesman Andrew Wilder said such talks are routine and never come with a promise the governor will support the final product.
Her staff was most concerned about a provision in last year’s legislation that allowed someone to sue before their religious rights were affected and for a "likely" burden on those rights. That provision was removed this year.
Center for Arizona Policy president Cathi Herrod blamed the bill’s fate on opponents who misrepresented what it does.