Arizona bill vetoed

By Bob Christie The Associated Press Published Feb 27, 2014 at 12:01AM

Texas gay-marriage ban struck down

A federal judge in Texas struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage Wednesday, ruling that the laws restricting marriage to a man and a woman violated the U.S. Constitution and handing gay rights advocates a major legal victory in one of the nation’s biggest and most conservative states.

“Without a rational relation to a legitimate governmental purpose, state-imposed inequality can find no refuge in our United States Constitution,” wrote Judge Orlando Garcia of U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, in San Antonio.

While significant, Garcia’s ruling will have no immediate effect on gay and lesbian couples wishing to marry in Texas. The judge issued a stay on his decision while the state appealed to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in New Orleans.

— New York Times News Service

PHOENIX — Gov. Jan Brewer on Wednesday vetoed a Republican bill that set off a national debate over gay rights, religion and discrimination and subjected Arizona to blistering criticism from major corporations and political leaders from both parties.

Loud cheers erupted outside the Capitol building immediately after Brewer made her announcement.

“My agenda is to sign into law legislation that advances Arizona,” the Republican governor said at a news conference. “I call them like I see them despite the cheers or the boos from the crowd. After weighing all the arguments, I have vetoed Senate Bill 1062 moments ago.”

The bill backed by Republicans in the Legislature was designed to give added protection from lawsuits to people who assert their religious beliefs in refusing service to gays. But opponents called it an open attack on gays that invited discrimination.

Companies such as Apple Inc. and American Airlines, and politicians including GOP Sen. John McCain and former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney were among those who urged Brewer to veto the legislation.