The Jewish Community Relations Council issued a statement Tuesday urging Gov. Jan Brewer to veto SB1062, which would allow businesses to deny service to gays and others on “religious freedom” grounds:
“As the public affairs and social justice arm of the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona, the Jewish Community Relations Council feels strongly about advocating for the civil liberties and human rights of all.
“The Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona is deeply disappointed by the Arizona Legislature’s passage of SB1062 and its potential impact on human rights and human dignity.
“While we fully support the constitutionally protected rights of every citizen to adhere to religious beliefs and convictions as they see fit, as Jews, this kind of legislation raises deep and unsettling resonances to our history of persecution. The implicit permission granted by legislation like this, to allow citizens to discriminate against others based on their own religious convictions and beliefs, has historically been the decisive moment which leads to horrifying and destructive outcomes for our People and others.
“At the core of the Jewish Federation’s mission is the notion of chesed (loving kindness) and tikkun olam (repairing the world). These ideals guide our work and compel us to voice opposition to a bill that is antithetical to Jewish values and human decency. It is these core values that informed the Jewish Federation’s decision to establish the LGBT Inclusion Project, a program dedicated to fostering a warm and welcoming Jewish community for Southern Arizona’s LGBT Jews. Leadership at the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona, the Jewish Community Relations Council and the LGBT Inclusion Project stand unified in opposition to SB1062.
“We pray for our State’s leaders to uphold the core American principles of freedom, justice and compassion for all, and we urge our governor in the strongest possible terms to veto this legislation.”
Update: On Wednesday evening, Gov. Brewer vetoed the bill.