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It took her a few (maddening) days, but Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) did the right thing. She vetoed that horrible bill that would have made it legal to discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people by claiming that doing so violated their “sincerely held religious beliefs.” But this sensible and just end isn’t the best part of all this.
Never before have I seen such full-throated tri-partisan opposition to a piece of anti-gay legislation. By tri-partisan I mean Democrats, Republicans and corporations. That Democrats were against the measure was a no-brainer. That Republicans and businesses joined them to not only decry the bill’s passage bill but to also demand that Brewer veto it was remarkable.
Arizona’s two U.S. Senators, John McCain (R) and Jeff Flake (R), urged Brewer to veto the bill. Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, did the same. Three state Senators who voted for the noxious statute changed their minds. In a letter to Brewer last Friday, the head of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council warned that the “legislation will likely have profound, negative effects on our business community for years to come.”
Because next year’s Super Bowl is set to kick off in Glendale, Ariz., the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee released a statement to declare “We do not support this legislation.” It added, “We share the NFL’s core values which embrace tolerance, diversity, inclusiveness and prohibit discrimination.” Meanwhile, the NFL spokesperson said yesterday, “We are following the issue in Arizona and will continue to do so should the bill be signed into law.” And then there was the cavalcade of corporations, including Apple, Marriott and American Airlines, that reached out to Brewer’s office to urge a veto. Delta Airlines was more blunt in discussing what might happen if SB 1062 is signed into law.
As a global values-based company, Delta Air Lines is proud of the diversity of its customers and employees, and is deeply concerned about proposed measures in several states, including Georgia and Arizona, that would allow businesses to refuse service to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals. If passed into law, these proposals would cause significant harm to many people and will result in job losses.
In the face of overwhelming resistance from all quarters, Brewer had no choice but “to do the right thing for the state of Arizona.” I’m glad she stood her ground against discrimination in her state. The right thing for Arizona and the right thing for LGBT people are not mutually exclusive.
Follow Jonathan on Twitter: @Capehartj