Gov. Jan Brewer to decide if Arizona's anti-LGBTQ measure lives or dies

Brewer is facing pressure from both sides of the issue on a measure to legalize anti-LGBTQ discrimination

By Katie McDonough

Published February 24, 2014 3:08PM (EST)

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer             (Reuters/Darryl Webb)
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer (Reuters/Darryl Webb)

An Arizona measure allowing businesses to deny service to LGBTQ individuals (or, more accurately, any person believed to be LGBTQ) is expected to reach Gov. Jan Brewer's desk on Monday.

Brewer vetoed similar legislation last year, but has expressed support for allowing business owners to discriminate based on their personal views. "I think anybody that owns a business can choose who they work with or who they don't work with," Brewer told CNN on Friday. "But I don't know that it needs to be statutory. In my life and in my businesses, if I don't want to do business or if I don't want to deal with a particular company or person or whatever, I'm not interested. That's America. That's freedom."

The measure has been strongly criticized by LGBTQ activists in the state and across the country. Democrats in the state Legislature and business owners have also rallied against the bill, saying it enshrines discrimination into state law and will create a chilling effect among small businesses.

State Senate Democratic Minority Leader Anna Tovar denounced the measure in a statement. "With the express consent of Republicans in this Legislature, many Arizonans will find themselves members of a separate and unequal class under this law because of their sexual orientation," she said. "This bill may also open the door to discriminate based on race, familial status, religion, sex, national origin, age or disability."

As CNN notes, the Greater Phoenix Economic Council also urged Brewer to veto the measure, saying it "will likely have profound, negative effects on our business community for years to come."

"The legislation places businesses currently in Arizona, as well as those looking to locate here, in potentially damaging risk of litigation, and costly, needless legal disputes," council president Barry Broome wrote in a letter to Brewer.

"With major events approaching in the coming year, including Super Bowl XLIX, Arizona will be the center of the world's stage. This legislation has the potential of subjecting the Super Bowl, and major events surrounding it, to the threats of boycotts."

Brewer is currently in Washington, D.C., and is expected to return to Arizona on Tuesday.

Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at

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Anti-lgbt Bigots Anti-lgbt Discrimination Arizona Gay Rights Jan Brewer Lgbtq Rights