POLITICS: PennAve

White House criticizes Arizona anti-gay measure

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Politics,White House,Barack Obama,Arizona,PennAve,Meghashyam Mali,Gay rights,Law

The White House on Wednesday criticized an Arizona measure that would allow businesses to refuse service to gay and lesbian customers.

Asked if Republican Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer should veto the controversial law, Obama deputy press secretary Josh Earnest said the White House does not “weigh in on all these individual pieces of legislation that pass through state legislature.”

But, Earnest added: “Based on the reports, it’s clear that this piece of legislation doesn’t seem to be in line with the president’s commitment to equality, justice and fairness for all.”

The bill, which was passed by Arizona’s Legislature last week, would allow business owners to deny service to gay customers if they believed it would violate their religious beliefs.

Brewer has said only that she will do the “right thing” for her state, but has not publicly announced a decision.

The bill has sparked strong criticism, with many prominent Republicans publicly urging her to veto the legislation amid fears it could become a distraction and hurt the GOP in November’s midterm elections.

Former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney took to Twitter to urge Brewer to reject the bill.

“.@GovBrewer: veto of #SB1062 is right,” he wrote.

President Obama is a staunch supporter of gay rights, becoming the first sitting president to endorse same-sex marriage.

Obama recently tapped a number of openly gay athletes to serve on his presidential delegation to the Winter Olympics in Russia, as part of an effort to show his opposition to anti-gay rights legislation passed by lawmakers in Moscow.

Earlier this week, the White House also slammed a law in Uganda that increases criminal penalties for gays and lesbians, calling it “abhorrent” and urging its repeal.

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