Arizona governor vetoes bill on gays, religion

2014-02-27 21:06

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Phoenix - Arizona's governor vetoed a bill pushed by social conservatives that would have allowed people with sincerely held religious beliefs to refuse to serve gays, ending a proposal that put America's deep polarisation over homosexuality on stark display.

Slapping down her party's right wing, Governor Jan Brewer, vetoed the bill after companies including Apple and American Airlines and more moderate Republicans including Senator John McCain had warned it would hurt the state and could alienate businesses looking to expand there.

Loud cheers erupted outside the Capitol building immediately after Brewer made her announcement on Wednesday.

The governor said the bill "could divide Arizona in ways we could not even imagine and no one would ever want".

The bill was broadly worded and could result in unintended negative consequences, she added.

The bill would have allowed people to claim their religious beliefs as a defence against claims of discrimination. Democrats said the bill could allow people to break nearly any law and cite religious freedom as a defence.

The governor's office said it had received more than 40 000 calls and e-mails on the legislation, with most of them urging a veto.

Read more on:    us  |  gay rights

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