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GOP U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake of Ariz. says he hopes governor vetoes anti-gay bill

Saturday, February 22, 2014
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APU.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.)

AP
U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.)

U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) said Saturday that Arizona governor Jan Brewer should veto legislation that would allow business owners to cite their religious beliefs in refusing to serve gay and lesbian customers and others.

Flake tweeted Saturday, “I hope Governor Brewer vetoes SB 1062.”

The legislation (SB 1062) allows business owners with strongly held religious beliefs to refuse service to gays, and all eyes are on Brewer as she decides whether to sign the bill. A decision is likely next week.

Social conservatives and libertarian-minded members of the GOP believe the legislation protects the First Amendment rights of business owners who are expressing their religious beliefs.

Flake’s announcement comes amid calls by Arizona’s Secretary of State Ken Bennett and Treasurer Doug Ducey, both GOP candidates for governor, for Brewer to veto the bill.

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The legislation was passed over the objections of Democrats who said it was clearly designed to allow discrimination against gays. All but three Republicans in the Legislature voted in favor of the bill.

Greater Phoenix Economic Council President and CEO Barry Broome urged the governor to veto the bill and said four companies have already put their plans to open facilities in Arizona on hold until they see if the bill becomes law.

The impact could mean the potential loss of “thousands of jobs,” Broome said.

“If the governor doesn’t veto this bill, the effect on Arizona will be instantaneous and devastating,” he said.

Arizona’s senior U.S. Senator, John McCain, also a Republican, has not commented on the bill.

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