Thursday, February 27, 2014

Veto by not vetoing

By Carl

Jan Brewer was really between a rock and a hard case this week, with the passage of SB1062, which I refer to as the Jim Peacock Law. I’m surprised how deftly she manuevered around it:
In her veto message, Brewer addressed not just SB 1062 but other issues confronting the state, obliquely chiding the Legislature for not focusing on pressing issues.

Brewer reminded lawmakers that she had said earlier that her main priorities were passing a responsible budget and fixing a problem plaguing the state’s child protective services system.

“Instead, this is the first policy bill to cross my desk,” she said.

She went on to say that the bill “could divide Arizona in ways we cannot even imagine and no one would ever want. Religious liberty is a core American and Arizona value; so is non-discrimination. Going forward, let’s turn the ugliness of the debate over Senate Bill 1062 into a renewed search for respect and understanding among all Arizonans and Americans.”

The text of her message (pdf) is revealing. She doesn’t veto it on moral grounds at all. Indeed, the text suggests that she sides with the people who feel it’s a violation of their religion to serve “their kind,” but basically tells the legislature “Go back and try again, and next time, don’t make it so blatantly hateful.”

She heard about it from business leaders, in particular the NFL (imagine an openly gay football player being denied service in a Phoenix restaurant during the Super Bowl) and even Andy Borowitz captured the spirit of the “OMG!”, headlining a post, “Arizona Confronting Awkward Realization That Gay People Have Money, Buy Stuff.”

So yes, be happy she vetoed the bill. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. It was an adept political move, raising the art of the possible to a new height in Arizona, but it does not make the Arizona government suddenly saintly.

(Cross-posted to Simply Left Behind.)

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