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Apple calls for veto of Arizona religious freedom bill

Apple has asked Arizona Governor Jan Brewer to veto the controversial religious freedom bill SB1062, the tech giant said late on Monday.

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Apple appears to be the latest firm to join other corporates urging Brewer to veto the bill, which supporters say will protect religious freedom and critics say could allow companies to use religious beliefs to discriminate against the gay and lesbian community.

The request from Apple comes as it is preparing to open a new sapphire glass manufacturing plant in Mesa, Arizona and that is expected to create more than 2,000 jobs in engineering, manufacturing and construction.

Apple confirmed to CNBC that it has asked the Arizona governor to veto the religious freedom bill. It re-issued a statement released when it announced the new plant.

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A number of business groups, hotel chains such as Marriott and other big firms such as American Airlines have urged Brewer to veto the bill.

The NFL meanwhile said it was watching developments in Arizona. The Super Bowl is slated to be held in Arizona next year.

"Our policies emphasize tolerance and inclusiveness, and prohibit discrimination based on age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other improper standard," the NFL said in a statement. "We are following the issue in Arizona and will continue to do so should the bill be signed into law, but will decline further comment at this time."

— Reporting by Ryan Ruggiero; Follow him on Twitter: @RyanRuggiero

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