WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoed a bill that would have strengthened Arizona's Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). Family Research Council (FRC) has long supported state RFRAs, which have been enacted in 18 states since 1997 based on the federal law introduced by now U.S. Senator (then U.S. Representative) Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and former U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), passed 97-3 in the Senate, unanimously by voice vote in the House of Representatives and was signed into law by President Bill Clinton.
FRC President Tony Perkins released the following statement:
"This measure should have been a political no-brainer and only went down because people either chose to ignore the plain language of the bill or refused to read it altogether. Apparently, they're graduates of the Pelosi School of Policy, where they dispose of bills before they find out what's in them.
"This bill like the federal RFRA, bars government discrimination against religious exercise, so by vetoing this bill Gov. Brewer is saying she supports government discrimination against people's religious freedoms.
"Under the amended Religious Freedom Restoration Act, what was legislative intent (but ignored by certain courts) would have been clear: individuals do not have to trade their religious freedom for entrance into public commerce. In other words, whether it's a wedding vendor, whose orthodox Christian faith will not allow her to affirm same-sex 'marriage,' or a business like Hobby Lobby or Conestoga Wood, whose faith bars them from providing drugs that have the potential to end a pregnancy, the provisions of RFRA would apply.
"Unfortunately, at a moment of testing, Governor Jan Brewer yielded to the cultural bullies and their frenzy-driven opposition instead of consulting the facts," concluded Perkins.