Gov. Katie Hobbs—the new “veto vixen” of Republican anti-LGBTQ+ bills


Gage Skidmore (Flickr)

Gov. Katie Hobbs attending a 2023 Tech Summit

Annalisa Toni, Reporter

In a relentless pursuit to ban pronouns, drag queens and LGBTQ+ people—Republicans in the Arizona State Legislature have continued to introduce numerous bills targeting LGBTQ+ communities. 

But they still have to go through Gov. Katie Hobbs—and that’s not an easy task as Hobbs has vowed to veto all anti-LGBTQ+ bills that land on her desk for signature.

“As politicians across the country continue to pass harmful legislation directed at transgender youth, I have a clear message to the people of Arizona: I will veto every bill that aims to attack and harm children,” Hobbs wrote in her letter to Senate President Warren Petersen.

In a 2008 editorial from the Tucson Citizen, the state’s Democratic Governor Janet Napolitano was referred to as the “Veto Vixen” and a “superhero” after she vetoed a growing number of conservative bills with “significant issues” including the 2005 bill that would have allowed people in Arizona to bring their concealed guns into bars and restaurants as long as they weren’t drinking alcohol. 

In 2009, Republican Gov. Jan Brewer signed the same gun bill that Napolitano vetoed into law giving approval for people with concealed weapons permits to bring a gun into a business that serves alcohol. 

As more anti-LGBTQ+ bills are headed toward Gov. Hobbs desk for signature, one might see a familiar pattern as Arizona Republicans in the House introduce significant numbers of anti-LGBTQ+ bills—this appears to be the same blueprint used by Republicans in 2005 under Gov. Napolitano to introduce “veto bait”—or, bills that would invite a sure veto in order to “make Democrats look bad.”

But fast forward to 2023 and it doesn’t appear to be the case as Hobbs is faring quite well with most Arizonans through her vetoes of anti-LGBTQ+ bills as well as her vetoes on bills that would further limit access to abortion.  

Devon Noels, an Arizona State University student and activist for LGBTQ+ rights, spoke with Northeast Valley News on the importance of having another “veto vixen” in the highest office especially when, “We’re up against extremist Republicans that introduce hate bills targeting the protected rights of LGBTQ+ individuals,” Noels said. 

Earlier this year, Noels talked about the opposite kind of leadership one that ordains banning the rights of LGBTQ+ citizens under the leadership of Florida’s Governor, Ron DeSantis who recently declared his candidacy for president in the 2024 election. 

Last month Hobbs vetoed a measure introduced by Arizona Republicans that would ban teachers and all school staff from referring to students by their preferred pronouns without written consent from their parents. And even with such consent, some teachers who may cite moral or religious convictions, could refuse to use student’s preferred pronouns. 

Reportedly, in January, Equality Arizona Interim Executive Director Jeanne Woodbury cited constitutional issues with the bill SB 1001. 

“I can’t see how that’s not a violation of free speech,” she told Phoenix New Times. “We have the right to identify how we want. We have the right to ask people to respect our identities. It’s a blatantly unconstitutional idea.”

The U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark 2020 decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, held that the prohibition against sex discrimination in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 includes discrimination based on gender identity.

“Gender identity is a protected class,” the Arizona GOP’s own attorney, Chris Kleminich, warned the Senate Rules Committee.