Arizona's conservative governor may not sign a bill that would let businesses refuse to serve gay men and lesbians if it conflicts with their religious beliefs, she said Saturday.
The bill, passed Thursday by the Legislature, sparked strong reaction from opponents who called it "state-sanctioned discrimination" and an embarrassment.
Gov. Jan Brewer, a favorite of many fellow Republicans for her strongly conservative stands, told NBC News that she hadn't yet decided whether to sign or veto the bill.
"I don't have to make a decision until next Friday, so I have plenty of time," said Brewer, who is in Washington, D.C., for a national conference of governors.
The controversy comes four years after Brewer signed a law cracking down on illegal immigration, which led liberal activists to lobby businesses to boycott the state.
Barry Broome, chief executive of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, said he was concerned about a similar backlash, especially since Phoenix is scheduled to host the Super Bowl early next year.
"We had four companies call us to tell us that we'll be dropped from their list as a potential investment location unless Governor Brewer vetoes the bill," Broome said.
To make the point, Rocco's Little Chicago Pizzeria in Tucson threatened to ban lawmakers who voted for the bill.
"One lady called and said she would never eat here again, but that's been dwarfed by the 500 or so calls in the other direction," said Evan Stevens, the restaurant's manager.
First published February 22 2014, 5:44 PM