By Christian News Network
PHOENIX — A billed passed by Arizona lawmakers last week which sought to protect business owners and shield them from unlawful discrimination lawsuits has been vetoed by Governor Jan Brewer.
“I sincerely believe that Senate Bill 1062 has the potential to create more problems than it purports to solve. It could divide Arizona in ways we cannot even imagine and no one would ever want,” Brewer said.
HB 2153 had cleared the Arizona House of Representatives 33-27, amending sections 41‑1493 and 41‑1493.01 of the state code pertaining to the free exercise of religion. The bill broadened the definition of a religious entity to include businesses and associations, and prohibited state officials from burdening the entity’s free exercise of religion without the least restrictive means of furthering a compelling government interest.
The bill was modeled after the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), passed in the 1990′s, but sought to ensure that Arizona protects the right to religious conviction without punishment. The RFRA only applies on a federal level and does not pertain to state action.