U.S. Sen. John McCain said Monday he hopes Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoes legislation that opponents say would create a “license to discriminate” against LGBT people in the state, following a similar statement made by U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake over the weekend.
The measure, Senate Bill 1062, is currently pending Brewer’s signature after passing in the Arizona House last Thursday. The bill’s proponents say it would protect religious freedom in the state, but opponents say the law would open the door to widespread discrimination — particularly against the LGBT community.
McCain — like Flake — took to Twitter to publicly oppose the bill, which Brewer has until Friday to sign or veto. Brewer has said she will take her time in making that decision.
The law would protect individuals and businesses that are sued if they refuse services to anyone if doing so would violate their religious beliefs. The bill’s sponsors and other supporters say people and businesses should have the right to refuse to do business with anyone if it goes against their religious beliefs.
But critics say the language of the bill would lead to scenarios in which LGBT people are denied service at restaurants because of the owner’s religious beliefs, or even businesses with one religious belief denying services to people with a different religious belief should the bill become law.
On Saturday, Flake posted his similar statement on Twitter:
Opponents of the bill plan to march outside the state capitol in Phoenix Monday night demanding Brewer veto the bill. Similar protests occurred over the weekend.
UPDATE — 1 p.m. ET: Three Republican state senators who voted in favor of the bill last week are now urging Gov. Brewer to veto it.
Sens. Bob Worsley, Adam Driggs, and Steve Pierce delivered a letter to Brewer on Monday, saying, “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.”
The senators asked Brewer to veto the bill.
“We must send a clear message that Arizona is a state that values religious tolerance and protects and values each individual’s ability to follow the dictates of their own conscience,” they wrote.
If the three lawmakers had voted against the bill in the Senate last Wednesday, where it passed 17-13, it would have failed and would not have advanced to the state’s House or to Brewer’s desk.
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