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Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer heads home amid furor over bill



By BOB CHRISTIE

PHOENIX (AP) - Gov. Jan Brewer returned to Arizona on Tuesday and faced a pressing decision about a bill on her desk that has prompted a national debate over religious and gay rights.

The Republican governor has been in Washington the last five days for a governor's conference, and she is returning to a political climate that is much different from just a week ago.

The Arizona Legislature passed a bill last week allowing businesses whose owners cite sincerely held religious beliefs to deny service to gays. It allows any business, church or person to cite the law as a defense in any action brought by the government or individual claiming discrimination.

The legislation has caused a national uproar. The chorus of opposition has grown each day, with the business community, the state's Super Bowl Committee and both Republican U.S. senators calling for a veto. Former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney was the latest prominent voice to weigh in and urge Brewer to veto the bill.

Brewer will likely spend the next day or more pondering Senate Bill 1062 before deciding whether to sign or veto the legislation.

There is widespread speculation that Brewer will veto the bill, but she has not said how she'll act, as is her longtime practice with pending legislation.

Political observers in Arizona cautioned that the governor is deliberate and not prone to act hastily, despite the growing calls from business, politicians of all stripes, and civil rights groups for a veto.

"She's no rookie to these high-profile deals - she gives both sides their due," said Doug Cole, a political consultant whose firm has run all of Brewer's campaigns for decades.

"She's going to get a very detailed briefing from her legal team, and give the proponents their best shot, and the opponents their best shot," he said. "Everybody's going to get their say, and they've giving it."

Some Republican senators who pushed the bill through the Legislature are now calling for a veto as well, but they cite "inaccurate" information about the measure for igniting a firestorm. They argue the bill is designed only to protect business owners with strong religious beliefs from discrimination lawsuits that have happened in other states. Some blame the media for blowing the law out of proportion.

Democrats say that argument doesn't wash and call SB1062 "toxic" legislation that allows discrimination. They said they warned Republicans who voted for the bill that it was destined for trouble.

"We brought this to their attention five weeks ago," said Sen. Steve Gallardo, D-Phoenix. "We said this is exactly what is going to happen. You have a bill here that's so toxic it's going to divide this Legislature. It's going to be polarizing the entire state. And that's exactly what happened."

The bill was pushed by the Center for Arizona Policy, a social conservative group that opposes abortion and gay marriage. The group says the proposal simply clarifies existing state law and is needed to protect against increasingly activist federal courts.

The center's president, Cathi Herrod, has been deriding what she called "fear-mongering" from the measure's opponents.

"What's happened is our opponents have employed a new political tactic, and it's working," she said. "Throw out the threat of a boycott to attempt to defeat a bill, and you might just be able to be successful.

Herrod added she was surprised and disappointed that "in America today, false attacks and irresponsible characterizations about a piece of legislation can so intimidate and persuade people to change their opinion about religious liberty."

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chrlbrw1122 March 06 2014 at 11:27 AM

My my my... The Sissys are taking Huff Post over.. No matter what they doo, They still be sissys..

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chrlbrw1122 March 06 2014 at 11:25 AM

Another Repub cave in!!!

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andreashiell February 26 2014 at 1:30 PM

this is ridiculous and i hope brewer vetoes the bill. but if she doesn't, i've already boycotted other states for their intolerance, so this would just be one more state I won't ever visit. that said, this is a solution in search of a problem. and if the problem with the law is that it's been "mischaracterized" then why are some repubs now calling for a veto? they just got caught passing state-sanctioned discrimination and now they're backpedaling. and business owners who insist on being bigots and refusing service to certain individuals can still do so by turning their "open to the public" to "members only." that way they can weed out anyone they don't like for whatever reason - as long as the reasons or criteria are stated on the membership application. why any business would spit in the face of potential customers like that is beyond me. but I guess we shouldn't try to make sense of people claiming they're being persecuted for their religion - all because gay people actually exist and might want to buy their products or services. head-cases like that usually don't make any sense anyway. problem is they're clogging up our state legislatures with this "culture war" tripe instead of fixing all the serious problems in our country that truly deserve attention.

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DOC February 26 2014 at 11:49 AM

The "Institution of Traditional Marriage" ( 1 man & 1 woman) is running at about a 53% failure rate in the US. Can gay marriages upset that delicate balance ?

Doc

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dich123 February 26 2014 at 7:12 PM

Ellen DeGeneres and Anne Heche broke up. If the tabloid I saw is correct, Ellen and her "wife" are headed for divorce. I think Rosie O'donnel and her girlfriend also broke up.

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rtutbucks February 26 2014 at 10:16 AM

I love Gov. Brewer, I support her and wish her well

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chrlbrw1122 February 26 2014 at 10:15 AM

If not for straight people, there wouldnt be humanity!!! Dont try to push your sissy agenda. No matter what the Law is, your still a sissy.

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John March 01 2014 at 10:11 AM

If it were not for you straight people us gays would not exist. After all you give birth to us.

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chrlbrw1122 March 06 2014 at 11:31 AM

You are a mistake sissy..

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Dave February 26 2014 at 9:30 AM

First they came for the gays and I said nothing because I wasn't gay........
If your religious belief is based on one passage in a book translated from words written on parchment 6,000 years ago then your religious believe should mean you will beat your wife, rape your daughter and kill your first born son. You can NOT call yourself a Christian if you subscribe to the old testament as your only source of moral grounds. Jesus is the Savior and it's HIS words that we need to listen to because, rather than tell everyone back then that the scriptures were full of crap commentary by men telling children's tales to make them behave, he simply said he came to fulfill the scriptures, not to replace them. Read the words of Jesus and then tell me where HE said word one about gays.
Next we'll be passing laws to restrict blacks from voting............ oh wait.....

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klemon0320 February 26 2014 at 8:29 AM

I suspect the gist of this is that some churches want to deny marriage services.

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nam2205 February 26 2014 at 10:48 AM

If thats what it is they have the right. If a man want to marry a man go to the JP, and shut up, and I don't even agree with that.

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ramshift February 26 2014 at 8:16 AM

Gov Brewer should pass the bill. If a KKK hooded group walked into your black owned resturant would you gladly serve them??? If you saw some Burka dressed persons borded a airplane would you glady board that plane??? In case you are a TV freak and have no clue, The KORAN mandates Muslims to convert or do harm to non-muslims. My advise is if Muslims appear in a crowded place is quitley move out of range of bombs.

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Reggie February 26 2014 at 8:45 AM

Well, the likelihood of a KKK hooded group walking into a black-owned restaurant , is about farfetched, as you growing a brain. There IS NO war or attack on anyone's religious freedoms -- this is just another fancy of the Religious right who needs something to complain about. I say BOYCOTT their businesses and the state of Arizona. There, are YOU happy? You don't want different people visiting your restaurant (where they will be actually enriching your bottom-line), then fine. Have it your own short-sighted way. The NFL should also withdraw the Superbowl too -- lord knows, the good religious restaurant owners in Arizona also don't want hundreds of well-paid black football players and their families to frequent their restaurants either. Shortsighted seems to be the mantra of some people.

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danmarkidd February 26 2014 at 8:11 AM

Airamrka..........In response to your posting, I have a feeling that if the church is teaching/preaching in accordance to The Word of God, the homos will not want tobe married in that church. What better place to have them attend if The Truth is being presented.....Who knows, it might be the only place that they hear what God has to say about their sin and how to repent and be forgiven and turn from their wicked ways. I Corinthians 6

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mphseason February 26 2014 at 8:20 AM

So exactly where did God come down and write this ??? Where is that stone where all this is written down ??? The bible (not matter what religion) was interpreted by MEN whom decided their ideas should rule....and if you really what rules, how about those 7 deadly sin included in your biblical laws....17 laws you CAN'T follow, because vanity is one of the laws......imo

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bucks0818 February 26 2014 at 8:33 AM

Please live by the Consitution, in cludes all , not by the Bible excludes many

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