Pat Buchanan on Brewer Veto: 'What Has Become of Free Society?'

Thursday, 27 Feb 2014 03:51 PM

By Todd Beamon

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Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer's veto of a controversial bill allowing business owners to refuse service to same-sex couples because of their religious convictions led former Reagan adviser Pat Buchanan to ask Newsmax, "What has become of the free society?"

"The issue in Arizona was a simple question: If a Christian, acting on his beliefs, refuses to play even a minor part in a 'same-sex' wedding, should he be subject to prosecution and run out of business?" Buchanan said in a email Thursday.

"Anyone who believes in freedom would answer no," Buchanan, a onetime presidential candidate, wrote. "Unfortunately, Gov. Jan Brewer declined to protect that right.

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"When it comes to the freedom of religious people to make business decisions based on their beliefs, whose side is the GOP on?" he wrote.

"Have bakers who make wedding cakes and photographers who take wedding pictures no right to abstain from same-sex ceremonies they find immoral? What has happened to the GOP?"

Brewer, a Republican whose term ends in January, vetoed Senate Bill 1062 late Wednesday. The legislation would have allowed business owners to cite their religious beliefs as legal grounds for refusing to serve same-sex couples or other prospective customers

The bill passed the Republican-controlled Arizona Legislature last week.

Brewer said the measure could "create more problems than it purports to solve."

"Senate Bill 1062 does not address a specific or present concern related to religious liberty in Arizona," Brewer said. "I have not heard one example in Arizona where a business owner's religious liberty has been violated."

Brewer's move has sparked outrage among conservative Republicans and other critics, who charged that the governor was pressured by moderate GOP leaders, large corporations, and gay-rights activities.

Both Major League Baseball and the National Football League also denounced the legislation.

The Super Bowl is scheduled to be played in suburban Phoenix next year — and the state could have lost hundreds of millions of dollars if the NFL pulled out.

In addition, Arizona's two senators, John McCain and Jeff Flake, opposed the bill.

"Freedom loses when fear overwhelms facts and a good bill is vetoed," said Doug Napier, senior counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, which helped draft the Arizona bill. "Today's veto enables the foes of faith to more easily suppress the freedom of the people of Arizona."

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