Local protesters react to Jan Brewer's veto of SB 1062 - Tucson News Now

Local protesters react to Jan Brewer's veto of SB 1062

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Local protesters outside the state building in downtown Tucson responded with loud cheers, hugs, tears, and shouts of victory after learning that Arizona Governor Jan Brewer would be vetoing the controversial Senate Bill 1062.

Opponents said the bill would legalize discrimination, especially among gays, lesbians, and those in the transgender community.

The group Wingspan, that advocates for the safety and freedom of LGBTQ members were joined by dozens of community volunteers in their protest outside the state building. Members said they planned to protest everyday until Governor Brewer vetoed the bill.

"This is the exact decision we were hoping for. We've been working towards it and it happened today," said Carol Grimsby, Executive Director of Wingspan.

News of the veto hit home for many.  Elektra Velpi, a member of the transgender community said she had faced discrimination throughout her life, and was relieved to hear about the veto.

The Pima County Democratic Party along with several opponents were at the Mercado San Agustin plaza for a victory party soon after the announcement.

Executive Director Shasta McManus said while the Governor had hurt the state's reputation by taking too long to make a decision on this bill, they applauded Brewer's decision.

"I'm extremely excited, not only as a proud daughter of a lesbian mom.  I was extremely excited Brewer decided to stand up for not only my family but the entire LGBT community, the entire state, the economy. We are very proud of what she did," said McManus.

Wendell Hicks, executive director of the Southern Arizona Aids Foundation said the veto was a big victory for the LGBT community, but they had a long way to go. 

"We won a battle, but the war is still on-going.  This is a great day," said Hicks. 

Grimsby said Arizona had set a great example for other states, that had similar legislation still pending.

"This is discrimination and we will not stand for it in Arizona," said Grimsby.  

Conservative lobbying group, The Center for Arizona Policy who helped write Senate Bill 1062 released a statement after Brewer's announcement, expressing disappointment.

President Cathi Herrod said:

"Today's veto of SB 1062 marks a sad day for Arizonans who cherish and understand religious liberty. 

SB 1062 passed the legislature for one reason only: to guarantee that all Arizonans would be free to live and work according to their faith.

Opponents were desperate to distort this bill rather than debate the merits. Essentially, they succeeded in getting a veto of a bill that does not even exist.

When the force of government compels one to speak or act contrary to their conscience, the government injures not only the dignity of the afflicted, but the dignity of our society as a whole.

SB 1062 made certain that governmental laws cannot force people to violate their faith unless it has a compelling governmental interest–a balancing of interests that has been in federal law since 1993.

The religious beliefs of all Arizonans must be respected and this bill did nothing more than affirm that. It is truly a disappointing day in our state and nation when lies and personal attacks can over shadow the truth."

 

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