- (Photo: REUTERS/Robert Galbraith)
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer disappointed some members of the conservative Christian community when she vetoed SB 1062 on Wednesday night, which proponents argued would better protect religious freedom interests, while opponents claimed would make it easier to discriminate against the LGBT community.
It is unclear the extent to which Brewer's own Christian faith might have played a role in her decision to kill the bill, though it is likely she talked to God about it. A New York Times story from 2010 stated that "before announcing big decisions [Brewer] often mentions that she prayed over them."
"I firmly believe that God has placed me in this powerful position of Arizona's governor to help guide our state through the difficulties that we are currently facing," she told a meeting of Lutheran pastors in September 2009.
Brewer is an "active member" of Life in Christ Lutheran Church. Her church is notably part of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, the more theologically conservative of the country's two Lutheran denominations, the other being the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
A representative from her church would not allow the press to interview church members about their feelings toward the bill.
Although Brewer is known for her conservative views—she has criticized Obamacare and signed controversial immigration legislation in 2010 that civil rights groups claimed would lead the state to racially profile its residents.
However, one of her first moves after becoming governor in 2009, was to raise the state's taxes. After she broke with her party to support state tax increases, Brewer openly admitted to looking to God to discern what choice she should make.
"I spent many a night sitting on my patio at 2 o'clock in the morning praying," Brewer told Bloomberg News in 2011. "It was a decision I deliberated on for a long time."
In 2011, Brewer declared May 6 as Arizona's State Day of Prayer. In a lawsuit that challenged the day, Brewer called it, "nothing more than an attempt to drive religious expression from the public square. I will fight it vigorously."
After the SB 1062 passed both chambers of Arizona's state legislature last week, Brewer stayed mum about her intentions after the bill landed on her desk. But in a press conference on Wednesday night, the Republican governor said she decided to kill the legislation because it "could divide Arizona in ways we cannot even imagine and no one would ever want."
"As governor, I have protected religious freedoms when there is a specific and present concern that exists in our state," she said. "Senate Bill 1062 does not address a specific and present concern related to religious liberty in Arizona. I have not heard of one example in Arizona where a business owner's religious liberty has been violated."
Brewer told her critics that although she recognized that "religious liberty is a core American and Arizona value, so is non-discrimination."
"I want you to know that I understand that long-held norms about marriage and family are being challenged as never before. Our society is undergoing many dramatic changes. However, I sincerely believe that Senate Bill 1062 has the potential to create more problems than it purports to solve," she said in a statement.
The former Secretary of State replaced Janet Napolitano, who President Barack Obama tapped to serve as the head of the Department of Homeland Security and won a second and full term in 2010. Brewer has also served in the state House of Representatives and Senate and on the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors.