McCain urges veto of controversial Ariz. bill

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Monday he hoped the Arizona governor will veto a bill that would allow business owners to cite their religious beliefs in refusing service to gay people.  

McCain in a tweet called on Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) to veto the bill, which passed both houses of the legislature last week.

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) sent out a nearly identical tweet over the weekend.

Brewer will have five days after she receives the bill to decide if she will sign, veto or take no action. The bill is expected to hit her desk on Monday.

Brewer vetoed similar legislation last year, but The Associated Press notes she did so at a time when she was refusing to sign all bills in an effort to push the state legislature to sign on to Medicaid expansion under the new healthcare law.

A number of gay rights and business groups have come out forcefully against the bill, arguing it would codify discrimination, drive business out of the state and have a negative impact on the economy. 

The bill would allow businesses, churches and individuals to cite their religious beliefs as a defense against discrimination claims brought by the government or another individual.

Arizona already has a religious freedom law, and supporters say the new provision is simply an update to that.

“SB 1062 seeks to ensure that state laws that violate the religious liberty of private persons cannot be enforced simply because the government is not technically a party to the case,” the Center for Arizona Policy,  a conservative-leaning group that supports the bill, said on its website.

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