John Kerry, Going Further Than White House, Urges Arizona Governor To Veto Anti-LGBT Bill

The secretary of state said he hopes Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer will “make the right decision” and veto it the bill that opponents say will lead to anti-LGBT discrimination. The White House has yet to take a specific stance on the matter.

Pool New / Reuters / Reuters

Secretary of State John Kerry got out ahead of the White House Tuesday, saying that he thinks Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer should “make the right decision” and veto religious freedom legislation that opponents say would lead to discrimination against LGBT people.

The nation’s top diplomat made the remarks during an interview with MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell, saying, “I cannot imagine how that law would withstand the scrutiny of the Supreme Court of the United States, so I would hope that [Brewer] would make the right decision.”

The White House, however, has declined to take a specific position on the matter, with White House spokesman Josh Earnest saying Wednesday the White House doesn’t weigh in on all of the proposed legislation in states, according to a pool report.

Earnest echoed a similar statement by press secretary Jay Carney on Tuesday.

“As a practice, we don’t generally weigh in on every piece of legislation under consideration in the states,” Carney said. “But I think the president’s position on equality for LGBT Americans and opportunity for all is very well known and he believes that all of us, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, should be treated fairly and equally with dignity and respect. And that view would govern our disposition toward a state law under consideration.”

The bill’s proponents say it would protect religious freedom in the state for individuals and businesses, but opponents say the law would open the door to widespread discrimination — particularly against the LGBT community.

The point of Arizona’s law came as Mitchell questioned Kerry on the United States’ ability to put pressure nations like Uganda, where lawmakers have enacted policies that would jail gays and lesbians for at least 14 years, if states here openly discriminate against LGBT people.

Speaking on progress for LGBT rights in the United states, Kerry said, “I think we’ve been through our own struggle, everybody knows that. This has not been an easy path in the United States.” He went on to say the United States will “stand up” for peoples’ rights anywhere in the world.

Brewer, after returning from Washington, D.C., Tuesday, said on Twitter she would “do the right thing.”

Brewer has until Saturday to act on the legislation, which was passed in the state legislature last week. Amid the intensifying criticism of the bill, several politicians and business leaders have also called on her to reject the measure.

Watch the MSNBC interview here.

Updated — 3 p.m. ET

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