ADL Welcomes Governor Brewer’s Veto of Arizona’s Misnamed “Religious Freedom” Bill

New York, NY, February 26, 2014 …The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today welcomed Governor Jan Brewer’s veto of legislation that would have been a harmful attack on civil rights.  Arizona’s so-called “religious freedom” bill, driven by opponents of marriage equality, would have provided a legal defense to individuals and businesses who claimed that a “sincerely held religious belief” required them to discriminate.

Christopher Wolf, ADL Civil Rights Chair, and Deborah M. Lauter, ADL Director of Civil Rights, issued the following statement:

We are pleased that Governor Brewer fulfilled her obligation to represent all of the people of Arizona. Her decision to veto legislation that would have sanctioned discrimination by citizens and businesses against individuals was the right one, and should serve as a guidepost for officials in other states where such pernicious legislation is being considered.

Regrettably, our nation has an odious history of using religion to justify discrimination. The bill that the Governor vetoed would have represented a toxic and harmful step backward, and would have stained Arizona’s reputation for years to come. As evidenced by the strong outcry from the business community, this legislation would have also done irreparable harm to Arizona’s economy.

ADL played a prominent role in the campaign to urge the Governor to veto it, and helped galvanize opposition in the business, civil rights and faith communities.

The Anti-Defamation League was founded in 1913 to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all. Today it is the world’s leading organization combating anti-Semitism, exposing hate groups, training law enforcement on hate crimes, developing anti-bias education programs for students, countering cyber-hate and relentlessly pursuing equal rights for all.