'This Week': Arizona Veto

ABC News' Cecilia Vega and the roundtable on the battle over anti-gay legislation in Arizona.
3:00 | 03/02/14

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Transcript for 'This Week': Arizona Veto
And switch gears to the culture clash in Arizona. It sparked so much reaction this week over a bill that would allow businesses to refuse services to gays and lesbian by invoking religion. Jan brewer vetoed the bill. But Cecilia Vega reports it will not stop a nationwide debate. Reporter: It was the Arizona bill that ignited a national firestorm. Nobody rides in the back of the bus and everybody sits at the lunch counter. We fought that battle once. That's what this battle is. Reporter: With polls showing a public shift on gay rights. A majority of Americans now support same-sex marriage. The pressure for Arizona governor Jan brewer to veto the bill was fierce. Major American companies came out swinging, calling Arizona's law bad for business. In the end, brewer vetoed the bill. Religious liberty is a core American and Arizona value. So is non-discrimination. Reporter: This as some of the most conservative states have become the new battle ground in the same-sex marriage war. A federal judge striking down Texas' ban. So-called religious freedom laws like the one so fiercely debated in Arizona, now seen as yet another weapon in the fight by supporters of the bill. We want for people to have their belief systems respected without the threat of being sued. Reporter: What about the belief system, the sexual orientation, the identity of a community, where is the respect for that? There needs to be some sort of mutual respect here. Reporter: Proponents are hoping to push it forward in other states. While gay rights supporters predict the same outcome. It was a serious miscalculation on the part of our opponents. I would be surprised if any of these gain traction. Reporter: ABC, Phoenix. And the roundtable. The congressman is back. A and rich Lowry, van Jones, and cokie Roberts. Cokie, the veto, one more sign of how swiftly the culture is changing. There was so much pressure on Jan brewer to issue that veto. The only surprising thing was how long it took her to do it. Absolutely. The business community was all over her. Marriott hotels saying nobody will ever go to Arizona again. And the whole country, really, was up in arms. Now Arizona continues to do these things. You know, they have done it with immigration and they've done it with all kinds of issues. Dr. King's birthday. Dr. King's birthday, exactly. You never knew what they were going to end up with. But they finally ended up in a place that's not only economically sensible, but for the party. You call the veto foolish. Get to the facts of this, the law was a subject of tsunami of poorly informed indignation. It was two minor changes to the religious freedom restoration act in Arizona which has been on the books for 15 years. It's modelled on a federal law, championed by Ted Kennedy, signed by bill Clinton. It says if you are going to substantially burden someone's exercise of a religion -- there has to be a compelling governmental interest at stake. Pretty big -- The anti-gay, it was completely false. Let me say a couple things about that. First of all, that minor expansion, it opened up a whole Pandora's box. The only justifications were anti-gay justifications. That blew it up. Not 57 problems, it's to do with gay folks. I'm going to tell you one thing. I'm passionate about this and a lot of people are. The one great achievement of the last century, we took out of the American lexicon six words, we don't serve your kind here. We took those out. The civil rights movement to do it. Dr. King got killed trying to do that. We don't Serb your kind here is not acceptable anymore. Those no blacks allowed signs came down, we don't to want see no gay signs in this country. It was a very emotional issue -- That's not what it would have done. Absolutely. If you own a coffee shop and refuse to serve a gay person, one, you're an idiot. Two, you're not going to have a defense under this law. Serving someone coffee is not a burden on your religion. The cases are bakers, florists, photographers who say, evangelical Christians or catholics who say I don't have any problem with gay people, but I don't want to participate in a gay wedding because I have conscientious objections to it. They have been reported for sanctions or fines. That is wrong. That is what is trying to be addressed here. One of the reasons it's so important to draw these lines is we have some cases right now in the supreme court which are saying that people who are business owners, not religious institutions and not religiously-affiliated institutions like catholic hospitals, for instance, but business owners saying we don't have to provide contraceptive coverage. We disagree with it. Let me bring in the congressman. Do you think most of the house republican colleagues were relieved by the veto? What's interesting about this. As a federal guy, I don't get involved in other states I don't live in. Good luck. Yeah, it always works out. But it's the interesting politics. Something was unjustifiably or justifiably a very big deal, you have the NFL threatening to pull out, bans being threatened. It's interesting to see how the politics work now. You can bring the free market in to bring pressure on state government. Someone said that fortune 500 is the most effective lobby for gay rights. You made a passionate case. But how about live and let live? If a florist doesn't to want work at a gay wedding, the couple can go somewhere else. Couple things. First of all, this idea that you can blame religion for bigotry. I heard that growing up. White adults saying god separated the races after the flood, after Noah's ark. It's a religious obligation to maintain segregation. If you want to be a bigot on your own time, that's fine. But if you want to extend that to your lrklc, your business. But you can't point to god to excuse bigotry. You get the last word. It's different than the Jim crow south. It was a state-sanctioned discrimination that was flatly unconstitutional. And there was a governmental interesting ensuring that you could travel, but you couldn't if no hotel would serve you. In this case, the wedding industry is not bristling with hostility to gay people. You are dealing with the occasional waker or florist with an objection. You can find another one. Got to take a break.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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