Arizona Republicans Having Second Thoughts About Anti-Gay Bill

As early as today, Arizona’s new law allowing business owner’s to discriminate against gay, and almost all, Arizonans on the basis of religion will hit the desk of Governor Jan Brewer.

Arizona has a long history of questionable racial politics, starting with the state’s failure to recognize Martin Luther King day until nearly 20 years after most the rest of the United States, continuing with its notorious SB 1070, the infamous “papers please” legislation, that required police officers check the immigration status of people they “suspected” might be illegal aliens. That law was later mostly invalidated as being unconstitutional by the conservative Roberts Supreme Court.

Now, on the eve of what is sure to be another controversial decision that will likely mar the state for years to come, Republicans in the state are starting to have second thoughts. First, Chuck Coughlin, a public affairs consultant who led Brewer’s transition team after election and a close ally, said he doubted if Brewer would ever sign the bill, “we already have laws to sufficiently protect people’s religion freedoms in this country, and this bill could actually empower people to discriminate.”

What’s more, even some of the Republicans who voted for the measure the first time around have gotten cold feet, a condition not normal for Arizona Republicans. State Senator Steve Pierce told reporters:

“I don’t like the negative picture of Arizona, and I’m on board asking the governor to veto the bill,” Pierce told the Prescott Daily Currier. “To say (the bill is) anti-gay is following the feeding frenzy… I have friends that are gay, and I wouldn’t do anything to hurt them. This is blown way out of proportion and it’s too bad.” Pierce also spoke to Capital Media Services, telling them, “I screwed up. I’m trying to make it right… I would be on board to get it repealed.” […]

Last week, it was Republican crazy Ted Nugent apologizing for calling the President a “subhuman mongrel”, this week it’s Republicans running away from a bill that appears to discriminate against gay people. What is going on?

Do Democrats have to worry that Republicans have learned that offending large blocs of the electorate is actually not a good electoral strategy?



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