On Monday it was reported that Apple had asked Republican Arizona Governor Jan Brewer to veto the controversial religious freedom bill SB1062. Today Delta and Marriott International Inc. have joined Apple, American Airlines Group Inc. and several other U.S. corporations in urging the Arizona Governor to veto a bill allowing businesses to refuse service to gays and lesbians on religious grounds. The companies all said the law, if enacted, would run counter to their internal policies aimed at ensuring an equal workplace. They also said the law could prompt companies to relocate outside Arizona, which is already struggling economically. Apple recently opened a plant with partner GT Advanced Technologies employing 700.
Bloomberg reports today that "Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor and presidential candidate, said on Twitter a veto of the Arizona measure was 'right.' Arizona's two Republican senators John McCain and Jeff Flake have also urged Brewer to veto the legislation, saying its passage would be bad for business."
Monday's CNBC report also noted that the NFL was watching developments in Arizona. The Super Bowl is slated to be held in Arizona next year.
A statement from the NFL clearly noted that their "policies emphasize tolerance and inclusiveness, and prohibit discrimination based on age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other improper standard. We are following the issue in Arizona and will continue to do so should the bill be signed into law, but will decline further comment at this time."
CNET reported on Tuesday that back in November, Governor Brewer said in a statement that "Apple is indisputably one of the world's most innovative companies and I'm thrilled to welcome them to Arizona. Apple will have an incredibly positive economic impact for Arizona and its decision to locate here speaks volumes about the friendly, pro-business climate we have been creating these past four years."
The "friendly, pro-business climate" that Arizona is touting could turn very ugly quickly if the Governor doesn't veto that bill and speak out against it strongly. Doug Parker, chief executive officer of Fort Worth, Texas-based American Airlines, wrote in a letter to Brewer stating that "There is genuine concern throughout the business community that this bill, if signed into law, would jeopardize all that has been accomplished so far." He further stated that it could make companies less likely to relocate in the state and repel convention business, adding that "Our economy thrives best when the doors of commerce are open to all."
As for the three Republican Senators who voted for the measure and then had a change of heart; they didn't do it because they thought that the bill was wrong. They did it because their Democratic "opponents" have "mischaracterized" the nature of the bill. They now worry that "These allegations are causing our state immeasurable harm." That's about as twisted and two-faced as it gets, but it's certainly on par for the right wing politics of the day in Arizona.
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