News / USA

    Activists, Businesses Applaud Arizona Gay Rights Law Veto

    With the Arizona Capitol in the background, gay rights supporters Rachel Butas, right, and Jo Jo Halko kiss after the two learn that Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer announces she has vetoed SB1062, Feb. 26, 2014.
    With the Arizona Capitol in the background, gay rights supporters Rachel Butas, right, and Jo Jo Halko kiss after the two learn that Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer announces she has vetoed SB1062, Feb. 26, 2014.
    Chris Simkins
    Arizona's Governor Jan Brewer vetoed a proposed state law that would have allowed business owners with strong religious beliefs to deny service to gay and lesbian customers. The measure was rejected after sparking a national debate over religious freedom and gay rights.  

    Cheers erupted outside state capitol building after the governor's veto. Since the bill's passage there had been growing opposition to it from major corporations, politicians in Washington, and state lawmakers in her own party.

    At a news conference, Brewer called the bill unnecessary legislation that would hurt the state. "The bill is broadly worded and could result in unintended and negative consequences. Religious liberty is a core American and Arizona value, so is non-discrimination."

    Reaction

    Gay Rights activists applauded the governor's action, calling the bill blatantly discriminatory and embarrassing to the state.

    "The people of Arizona have spoken and they were urging a veto," said one woman.

    Supporters of the legislation say it was about protecting people's right to exercise religion freely. The bill was promoted by the Center for Arizona Policy, a social conservative group that opposes gay marriage. Its president, Cathi Herrod, helped write the legislation known as SB 1062.

    "1062 is about one thing and one thing only, that Americans and Arizonian should be free to live and work according to their faith," said Herrod.

    But Arizona Senator John McCain opposed the bill telling VOA the law should have been rejected. "I just do not think it is necessary and I think it is wrong. I am against it in principle. We certainly want to make sure that we do nothing that either is real or perceived discrimination."

    Businesses react

    Several major U.S. companies doing business in Arizona -- like Apple, American Airlines, and Marriott -- called for the bill's rejection, fearing it would hurt business.

    The professional U.S. National Football League local organizing committee also said if the law was approved, it could have jeopardized plans for the state to host the Super Bowl next year.

    Proponents of the legislation say it was designed to protect businesses like bakeries, flower shops and wedding photographers, who may have objections to same sex marriage. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder told a group of state attorney generals he opposes laws influenced by politics.

    "I believe we must be suspicious of legal classifications base solely on sexual orientation and we must endeavor in all our efforts to uphold and advance the values that once led our fore bearers to declare unequivocally that all are created equal and entitled to equal opportunity," said Holder.

    Political analysts say the controversy surrounding the legislation illustrates the state's residents are often more mainstream than its more conservative elected officials.

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Godwin from: Nigeria
    February 28, 2014 4:18 AM
    The Arizona anti-gay legislation, though now vetoed by an ill-informed governor, raises hope that all is not lost after all in USA. It gives hope that some day, maybe soon – and that has to be pretty soon – by which time the devil must have left the seat of government at the Capitol Hill in 2016, some sanity may return to the country once touted to be God’s own country. It raises hope in that the representatives of the people spoke the mind of the majority of the Arizonians contrary to the opinion that the people were more progressive than their “conservative” legislators. What really happened here was a case where the gay right activists were able to garner the interested stakeholders who though were the minority but who fought with their “last blood” to see to the reversal of the legislation. Yeah, the Arizona populace was only complacent and hoped that the law was going to be passed, hence it represented popular opinion in the state. The governor was misinformed in that she mistook the fractional presentation of the gay rights group – which may have habitually comprised of all gays in all of USA, Europe and beyond – to be the position of Arizona State. And talking about rights of association, freedom of association, etc., the state of Arizona appears to be forcing those groups that dislike the gay group to associate with them.

    There is no freedom here. It is a state of coercion using state instrument to force persons, groups and organizations to associate with the choices of the state not theirs. It’s like forcing people to eat burger by state law. It’s like forcing muslims to go Church, or Christians to go to mosque. It’s the same as forcing all Americans to smoke cigarettes and marijuana; it’s like saying all Americans must eat one type of meal – just because they are in USA. It’s become a militarized or police situation where people are no longer free to do their own things, to freely associate, except as the state dictates. So what is the difference between this and communism or socialism? I see people’s freedoms being tampered with - eroded - in the most devastating way ever under the Obama administration where nothing again is good except it is gay; It's now a matter of who will outdo the other in this matter between the president and his defeated opponent – John McCain - believing this to be the happening thing now after the obamacare/budget deficit-fixing imbroglio.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora