Arizona Governor Jan Brewer recently made headlines after the Republican politician chose to veto a controversial senate bill called SB 1062 which would have given businesses in the state the legal right to refuse to provide service to LGBT people if it was against their religious beliefs. Her veto of the bill came after protests and outrage that the state could potentially bring a bill to law that would sanction anti-LGBT discrimination and several big profile businesses including Apple and American Airlines suggested that it would severely impact their ability to make money in the area. Following that firestorm, Brewer has now gone one step further, calling for the state’s legislators to consider extending the non-discrimination laws to protect LGBT Arizona residents.
Current Arizona legislation covers discrimination based on race, sex, religion, national origins and disability but Brewer has now said in an interview that the lawmakers need to evaluate that.
“I do not believe in discrimination. We are in the United States of America and we have great privilege that is afforded to everyone.”
While any other viewpoints (one that would effectively condone discrimination) would just draw more controversy, she also questioned whether non-discrimination laws would actually be needed, as if to say that the issue of discrimination is less of an issue due to the changing, progressive views that many US citizens hold about LGBT people. “[Real problems of discrimination with a need for legislative change are] something we don’t see a lot of anymore, because of people’s changing patterns of discrimination” is what she told Capitol Media Services on Tuesday, also adding that “If it needs to be addressed, it needs to be debated in the Legislature,” and that they should “Let the representatives of the people who have been elected by the populace of the state of Arizona determine and get it up to the governor.”
As for her own views on an updated non-discrimination bill, Brewer explained that “I don’t know what would be in that bill or how they would write it. But I certainly would evaluate it and do what I thought was the right thing to do for the state” and arguably, faced with similar outcries to support legislation in favour of LGBT citizens she would perhaps be willing to support the improved bill. That would be in spite of the decision she made in 2009 to halt benefits to same-sex domestic partners of state and university employees (a decision that was overturned by the Supreme Court) and Rebecca Wininger, president of Equality Arizona even said that Brewer is responsible for the LGBT discrimination in the state that the Governor says she ‘does not see a lot of’. Nonetheless, Arizona is famously conservative so perhaps this will set the wheels in motion for a positive change in the state.