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Latino Group Cancels Arizona Event Due to Anti-Gay Measure

<p>A national legal organization cancels its 2015 convention in Arizona saying it cannot tolerate "laws that return us to a darker time."</p>
Image: Arizona Republican Governor Brewer listens to testimonies during the Economic Development and Commerce Committee meeting at the National Governors Association Winter Meeting in Washington
Arizona Republican Gov. Jan Brewer at the National Governors Association Winter Meeting in Washington, February 22, 2014. A measure seen as anti-gay is awaiting her signature or veto.MIKE THEILER / Reuters

The Hispanic National Bar Association, a non-profit national membership group for Hispanics in legal fields, has pulled its 40th Annual Convention scheduled for September 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona in protest of a controversial measure seen as anti-gay.

The decision is a response to the passage of SB 1062, which gives business owners and individuals the right to refuse serving Arizona’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, as well as other groups, if it clashes with their individual religious beliefs.

The Hispanic Bar's national president, Miguel Alexander Pozo, said the measure violates the Equal Protection and the Commerce Clauses of the Constitution and violates the anti-discrimination protections in Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

"The HNBA views this as a civil rights issue,” said Pozo in a press release Wednesday. “As a national association of lawyers committed to promoting the ideals of equal protection, equal opportunity, tolerance, and inclusiveness, it is imperative that we speak up and take immediate action in the presence of injustice."

“Laws that return us to a darker time in the nation’s history simply cannot be tolerated. SB 1062 and SB 1070 are two such laws,” Pozo said.

The law is awaiting the signature of Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, whom sources have told NBC is likely to veto the measure.

UPDATE: At a news conference at the State Capitol Wednesday evening, Gov. Brewer announced she vetoed SB1062, saying the bill "could result in unintended and negative consequences."