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Updated Feb 24, 2014 - 2:43 pm

3 Arizona Republican senators urge veto of service-refusal bill

PHOENIX -- Three Republican Arizona state senators who voted for a bill that has triggered a national backlash from gay rights advocates are now urging Gov. Jan Brewer to veto the legislation.

Sen. Bob Worsley said he and Sens. Adam Driggs and Steve Pierce sent a letter to Brewer on Monday asking her to strike down the legislation allowing business owners with strongly held religious beliefs to refuse service to gays.

Worsley said he was uncomfortable when he voted for the bill. Both he and Pierce called their votes a mistake.

"We feel very badly the state reputation has been tarnished by our vote and that's why we're asking the governor to veto the bill. This is not a great political move for us but it's the right thing to do," Worsley said.

The legislation passed last week. The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry is requesting a veto because of fears it will hurt tourism.

"Sometimes we make a mistake," Pierce said. "I got out of there last week and we weren't sure what we wanted to do about it. We were not 100 percent sure on this to start with and I ... heard from some of the businesses about how they felt.

"Sometimes we make a mistake and need to correct it and that's what we're doing trying to correct an error."

Pierce said he and the other senators believed they were keeping peace with their caucus when they cast their voice.

"There were some of us that spoke at the time and we said 'Well, do we do this or not,' and we felt like we'd go ahead and do it because that was the least-damaging to the caucus and the members here," Pierce told News/Talk 92.3 KTAR's Rob & Karie on Monday.

Some feel the bill could prevent large events from coming to Arizona and Pierce said the bill was not a good idea for the state.

"There's a lot of things we would like to get here and this doesn't help the cause to do any of that," he said. "It is not good for Arizona to be under the scrutiny of everyone like it is."

Though he wants the bill vetoed, Pierce said the bill was misunderstood.

Conservative groups are pushing back and hoping Brewer signs it in to law.

"I don't think it's been accurately discussed or presented in a way that says exactly what's in the bill," he said. "I think there's been a frenzy that everyone's going 'Oh my God' and it just became a national incident that we need to correct."

When it comes down to it, Pierce said he was elected to do a job and asking Brewer to veto the bill is the right thing to do.

Worsley said there was an attempt to bring the bill back for reconsideration over the weekend but that Senate President Andy Biggs was "unwilling" to do so.

KTAR's Jim Cross and Rob & Karie contributed to this article.

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