Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs vetoes Ten Commandments in schools, 'Women’s Bill of Rights'

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs during a press release held Feb. 28, 2023.
Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs during a press release held Feb. 28, 2023. | YouTube/FOX 10 Phoenix

Democratic Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs has vetoed a bill that would have allowed public schools to post displays of the Ten Commandments while also rejecting another bill that would have defined the term "sex" not to include gender identity. 

Hobbs vetoed Arizona Senate Bill 1628 last Tuesday, legislation that would have amended state sex discrimination laws and rules to replace the word "gender" with "sex," which emphasizes biological sex at birth and excludes gender identity. The bill, also referred to as the Arizona Women's Bill of Rights, passed Arizona's Republican-controlled Senate in February. 

Hobbs wrote in a brief letter to Arizona Senate President Warren Petersen that she has "said time and again" that she would not sign legislation "that attacks Arizonans."

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Hobbs also vetoed Senate Bill 1151 on Tuesday, which would have allowed public school teachers and employees to display or read excerpts of several historical documents, including the national anthem, pledge of allegiance, the U.S. Constitution, the Mayflower Compact, speeches made by Founding Fathers, the national motto "In God We Trust" and the Ten Commandments.  

Hobbs wrote in another brief message to Peterson that she had "serious concerns about the constitutionality of this legislation" and felt it was "unnecessary."

The Center for Arizona Policy, a conservative advocacy group, stressed in a statement that SB 1628 "was intended to bring clarity, certainty, and uniformity to the laws of the state by answering the question, 'What is a woman?' definitively."

"SB 1628 was a commonsense bill that expressed the simple truth that there are two sexes — male and female — and that there are good reasons to maintain certain single-sex spaces. It erases any confusion by statutorily defining sex and helping to secure the safety and well-being of women and girls with this clarity," the center asserted. 

"Despite the claims from those opposed to the bill, SB 1628 wouldn't change any current law or create any new restrictions on anyone's legal rights."

Sponsored by Republican state Sen. Sine Kerr, SB 1628 sought to define "sex" as "a person's biological sex, either male or female, at birth" and that the definition "does not include gender identity or any other term that is intended to convey a person's subjective sense of self."

"The purpose of this act is to bring clarity, certainty and uniformity to the laws of this state regarding sexual discrimination, equality of the sexes and benefits or services that are specifically provided to males and men and females and women," the proposed legislation reads.

Lisa Bivens, an attorney who testified before the Arizona House Judiciary Committee against the proposed legislation, said the bill "gets into medical decision-making between parents and doctors, and diminishes parents' rights."

"It also diminishes the doctor's ability, and the hospital's ability, for what they can offer a parent in those circumstances where you don't fall into these categories, and all you're trying to do is figure out: How do I get my daughter home safe?" stated Bivens, as quoted by The AZ Mirror.

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