Republican Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer is in the national headlights as she considers SB 1062, a bill passed by the Arizona legislature to strengthen protections on religious liberty for state businesses – including protecting business owners from legal action if they choose to deny access to customers based on religious grounds. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) declared, “This would allow any restaurant or bar-owner to puts up a sign that says ‘No Gays Served.'”
“You know, the bill is in transmittal and I don’t have to make a decision until next Friday so I’ve got plenty of time,” Brewer said at a governors meeting in Washington, D.C. But it doesn’t matter. Here are seven reasons Brewer will likely veto the bill:
1. Her top political adviser told her not to sign it
“I’ve encouraged her to veto the bill,” HighGround Public Affairs Consultants president Chuck Coughlin told Phoenix Business Journal. “This isn’t her priority.”
Coughlin and his partner managed Brewer’s successful 2010 gubernatorial campaign and remain senior advisers to Brewer.
2. Brewer vetoed a similar bill last year
Brewer vetoed a 2013 bill with many of the same provisions, but not necessarily because she objected to it. Her veto, she claimed, was due to a policy of not considering any new pieces of legislation until Republican lawmakers backed her controversial Medicaid expansion.
3. Democrats have nationalized the issue
Forget the companies like American Airlines and Marriott urging her not to sign it. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) blasted out a fundraising campaign Monday against “Arizona’s Homophobic, Discriminatory Bill,” meaning that the national Democratic party would make the bill a wedge issue in the midterm congressional elections if Brewer signs it into law, painting all Republicans with the Todd Akin brush. Regardless of whether Brewer, who is term-limited, chooses to challenge state law and seek re-election in 2014, she can’t afford to hurt fellow Republicans nationally. Which brings us to…
4. John McCain and Jeff Flake
Republican Arizona Sens. McCain and Flake pounced on the issue early, both tweeting that they “hope” Gov. Brewer vetoes the bill.
5. Republican state senators, including the majority whip, backed off from their own votes
Arizona state Sens. Bob Worsley and Steve Pierce, who held a press conference outside the state Senate Monday, joined with Senate Majority Whip Adam Driggs in writing a letter to Brewer urging her to veto the bill. Though all three voted for the bill, they cited liberals who “mischaracterized” the bill as a political reason to veto it.
“While our sincere intent in voting for this bill was to create a shield for all citizens’ religious liberties, the bill has instead been mischaracterized by its opponents as a sword for religious intolerance. These allegations are causing our state immeasurable harm,” according to the letter.
Though Arizona Republicans loved Brewer’s tough stance on border security and illegal immigration, the governor alienated many with her 2013 Medicaid expansion and now needs to keep her Majority whips happy.
6. Arizona now risks losing the 2015 Super Bowl
The National Football League weighed in, with NFL spokesman Greg Aiello stating, “Our policies emphasize tolerance and inclusiveness and prohibit discrimination based on age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation or any other improper standard. We are following the issue in Arizona and will continue to do so should the bill be signed into law, but will decline further comment at this time.”
“We do not support this legislation,” said the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee, which snagged the 2015 Super Bowl for University of Phoenix Stadium.
7. The National Governors Association
Brewer has weathered the controversy in Washington, D.C. at meetings of the National Governors Association. Brewer’s own Republican Governors Association (RGA) is currently headed by New Jersey governor Chris Christie, who stopped a bid to ban gay marriage in his state late last year. Brewer is slated to return to Arizona late Tuesday afternoon. If any experience can encourage a politician to back off from a lightning-rod bill opposed by the gay community, a national bipartisan event in our nation’s capital would be it.