Last week, the state of Arizona dominated the news. The state Legislature there passed SB 1062, which would have allowed people to claim their religious beliefs as a defense for discrimination against gays and lesbians.
After a public maelstrom of objections that emanated from both political parties, Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed the Republican bill last Wednesday.
State Sen. Al Melvin, a Republican running for governor in Arizona and who voted for the bill, was quoted as saying, "... it is a sad day when protecting liberty is considered controversial."
Arizona's History with Same-Sex Marriage Bans
In 1996, Arizona's legislature banned same-sex marriage and the recognition of same-sex marriages performed elsewhere. Eight years later the state's voters took another step toward preventing gay marriages in their state: They approved Proposition 102, which limited marriage to only a union of one man and one woman.
Despite the government's tough stand, a 2003 poll found that 53% of Arizonans supported same-sex civil unions, though 54% oppose allowing same-sex couples to marry.
Last month, four same-sex couples filed a class-action lawsuit in U.S. District Court seeking to have Arizona's definition of marriage ruled unconstitutional. The couples' complaint argues that the federal courts must declare Arizona's definition of marriage as unconstitutional based on the Supreme Court ruling last year. A rule has yet to be issued.