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March 3, 2014

The Arizona Effect

Josh Deinert

AP Photo/Matt York

Last week Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoed the State’s now infamous “religious freedom” bill. 

The clear intent of the SB 1062 was to effectively allow persons and businesses to discriminate against the State’s LGBT community by providing a powerful legal defense based on assertion of a “sincerely held religious belief.” 

Due to its expansive nature, however, the legislation would have broadly sanctioned religious-based discrimination whether the victim was Jewish, Muslim, Protestant, Catholic, Mormon, Hindu or of no faith.   And the Anti-Defamation took a leadership role in defeating this discriminatory legislation.

Governor Brewer ultimately vetoed SB 1062 under fierce pressure from the State’s civil rights and business communities.

But what happens in Arizona does not stay in Arizona.  Prior to Governor Brewer’s veto, at least twelve other states, including Georgia, Mississippi, Ohio and Oklahoma, were actively considering similar legislation.  Due to the backlash against SB 1062, however, Georgia, Mississippi, Ohio, and Oklahoma tabled their bills.  So the new talking point in opposing such legislation should be “follow the lead of the Arizona legislature at your peril.”

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