Faith and business leaders urge Gov. Brewer to veto SB1062

Business

Letters were sent to Governor Brewer’s office on Monday morning calling for the veto of SB1062, signed by faith and business leaders from across Arizona. More than 25 religious leaders and over 60 businesses penned a plea to the Governor, asking her to consider the damages SB1062 would have on our state.

The faith letter reads as follows:

Dear Governor Brewer,

As religious leaders from abundant and diverse religious communities in Arizona, we prayerfully ask you to carefully consider a veto of Senate Bill 1062, exercise of religion; state action. Like you, we are guided by our faith and our moral obligation to do what is best for our communities.

As people of faith, we are ardent supporters of religious freedom for all Americans. We know that it is the religious freedom to worship as we chose that makes our country and our state great. Religious organizations have a long established First Amendment ability to operate according to their own beliefs and we as faith leaders hold that right as sacred and will do all in our power to preserve it.

However, we also know that there is a difference between sacred space and commercial space. When providing a service to the public, businesses cannot pick and choose whom to serve and whom to deny. This is basic discrimination and it has nothing to do with religious freedom.

Senate Bill 1062 claims to strengthen already robust religious freedoms in Arizona yet the reality is the opposite. As the Danbury Baptist Association understood when in 1801 they asked President Thomas Jefferson to ensure that their right to worship as a minority religion would not be curtailed by the majority, we understand that religious freedom protects our freedom to worship. Yet freedom of religion does not give businesses the right to discriminate based on the beliefs of individuals.

This legislation will have immense and negative consequences on all communities, including religious communities. First, it sends the message that one’s particular religious interpretation can become the law of the land. As diverse religious leaders, this suggests a movement toward state-sanctified religion that makes the free exercise of religion for all of us more difficult. Second, as religious leaders we know that familiesareharmedwhenlegislationunfairlyopensupmembersofourcommunitiestodiscrimination. As a state, we know we can do better than that.

Let us celebrate our diverse faith traditions and our courageous acts in the name of all that is Holy, and continue to serve as messengers of peace and goodness as you have encouraged us to do as Governor of Arizona. We ask that you do this with us, and respectfully request that you veto Senate Bill 1062.

The letter from faith leaders statewide arrived on Governor Brewer’s desk early Monday morning, while at the same time Arizona business leaders signed a letter asking the Governor to veto SB 1062. Prominent faith leaders, the Arizona Chamber of Commerce, the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, the Southern Arizona Leadership Council and Greater Phoenix Leadership have added their voices to the now nationwide debate on SB1062. This divisive bill will allow legal discrimination of same-sex couples and their families across Arizona, and it is up to us to join together to stop this attack on freedom before Governor Brewer makes her decision by Friday at the latest.

You too can take action today. CLICK HERE to call Governor Brewer’s office and urge her to veto SB1062.