Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer met Wednesday with both supporters and opponents of controversial legislation that would protect business owners who refuse service to gays in the state, as pressure builds on her to veto the measure.
The meetings by Brewer, reported by the Associated Press, come with week’s-end deadline to veto or sign the bill looming. The legislation would protect people from lawsuits who cite their religious beliefs in refusing to serve gays and lesbians. It’s been criticized by gay rights groups, business leaders and a growing chorus of Republicans as discriminatory and damaging to the state’s image. Proponents tout it as protecting religious freedom.
Reports Tuesday indicated that Brewer, a Republican, is leaning against the legislation. She hasn’t tipped her hand, but on Tuesday night a post on her Twitter account read: “I can assure you, as always, I will do the right thing for the state of Arizona.”
Arizona’s Republican-controlled state legislature passed the bill last week, but three of the lawmakers who voted in favor of the bill have since backtracked. In a letter to Brewer on Monday they wrote: While our sincere intent in voting for this bill was to create a shield for all citizens’ religious liberties, the bill has instead been mischaracterized by its opponents as a sword for religious intolerance. These allegations are causing our state immeasurable harm.”