Legislation Introduced to Add Protections for LGBT and Veterans

Legislation Introduced to Add Protections for LGBT and Veterans

Submitted by ONE Community

Two Arizona lawmakers introduced legislation today that will update the state’s existing nondiscrimination laws to include protections for veterans, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals.

“In most parts of Arizona, it is legal to fire someone from their job, evict them from their home or deny them public services, such as at a restaurant, store or hospital, simply because of their veteran status, sexual orientation or gender identity,” bill sponsor Senator Katie Hobbs, said. “As Arizonans, we believe that everyone should treated equally under the law; that’s why we need this important update.”

Arizona law currently provides nondiscrimination protections in housing, employment and public services for a variety of classifications, including race, skin color, religion, disability, sex and more.  Senate Bill 1320 introduced by Senate Minority Leader Katie Hobbs and House Bill 2364 introduced by House Minority Leader Rebecca Rios will simply add veteran status, sexual orientation and gender identity to that list.

The business community is strongly in favor of the legislation. More than 2,100 businesses have voiced their support.

“In an increasingly globalized economy, we’re not only having to compete with other states, but other countries for top talent,” Katee Van Horn, Vice President of Diversity and Engagement at GoDaddysaid. “When we’re recruiting new employees, they want to know about pay and benefits, but they also want to know that they will live in a community that is open and welcoming. Senate Bill 1320 and corresponding House Bill 2364 are critical in our efforts to recruit and retain the best talent possible right here in Arizona.”

Businesses across the country are increasingly considering nondiscrimination protections when deciding where to do business. In the last two years, both CNBC and Forbes Magazine have added LGBT rights as a priority criteria in their annual best states for business lists.  And national organizations like the NCAA announced that they will consider LGBT rights when awarding cities with championship games going forward.

“Banning discrimination isn’t only the right thing to do, but it will help Arizona’s bottom line,” said Angela Hughey, co-founder and President of ONE Community. “Businesses want to work in states and communities where their employees, customers and families will be treated fairly, where they won’t have to worry about being fired, kicked out of their homes or denied services simply because of who they are. An update to our non-discrimination policies will help us all to prosper together.”

Faith leaders are also supporting the measure:

“My faith teaches us that we are all God’s children, and that we should treat others the way we want to be treated. The legislation will simply update Arizona’s existing laws to ensure that our veterans and LGBT citizens are all treated equally and fairly,” Reverend Troy Mendez, Dean of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral added.  

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