Flake, Arizona Republicans urge governor to veto bill allowing denial of service to gays

February 24, 2014
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) has until the end of the week to decide whether she'll sign or veto a bill that would allow business owners with strongly held religious beliefs to deny service to gays. (Reuters)

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Arizona's Republican former state Senate president are among those urging Gov. Jan Brewer (R) to veto a bill that would allow businesses to deny service to LGBT customers.

The bill has become a lightning rod in recent days  as gay rights groups have cried foul and suggested that the bill amounts to legalized discrimination. Brewer has not said whether she'll sign the bill, which supporters say is necessary to protect religious rights.

Flake weighed in on Saturday, issuing a brief tweet:

Former state Senate president Steve Pierce (R) also weighed in over the weekend, telling a local newspaper that, despite voting for the bill, he now thinks it would be wrong for Brewer to sign it.

"I don't like the negative picture of Arizona, and I'm on board asking the governor to veto the bill," Pierce said.

Others urging a veto include the state's leading GOP gubernatorial candidates: Secretary of State Ken Bennett, state Treasurer Doug Ducey and Mesa Mayor Scott Smith.

A push for the new law began after a situation in neighboring New Mexico in which the state Supreme Court ruled against a wedding photographer who declined to work for a same-sex couple's wedding.

The bill would allow businesses to deny LGBT customers service if they believe it violates their religious beliefs. It passed last week in both the state House and state Senate.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.
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Aaron Blake · February 24, 2014