Arizona Vetoes Religious Bill Criticized as Anti-Gay

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from The Wall Street Journal,

Bill Would Have Allowed Business Owners Legal Defense to Deny Service on Religious Grounds.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed a bill that set off an impassioned national debate over a provision that would have given business owners a legal defense for refusing service to customers on religious grounds.

The bill “does not address a specific or present concern related to religious liberty in Arizona,” Ms. Brewer said in announcing her decision Wednesday evening, adding that she hadn’t heard a single example of an Arizona business owner whose “religious liberty has been violated.” She also criticized the bill as “broadly worded” and said it had “the potential to create more problems than it purports to solve.”

The widely expected decision won praise from civil-rights groups, who said the measure would have allowed businesses to discriminate against same-sex couples. Hundreds of demonstrators who gathered outside the state capitol cheered, hugged and waved flags as they heard about the veto.

Supporters of the proposed legislation said the veto wasn’t surprising, considering the enormous public opposition and what they contend was the miscasting of it as a discrimination issue. They argued it simply would have strengthened existing law to better protect the religious from violating their beliefs.

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