Ari­zona law­mak­ers push anti-LGBTQ dis­crim­i­na­tion law

Antelope Valley Press - - RELIGION -

PHOENIX (AP) — A bi­par­ti­san group of Ari­zona law­mak­ers are again push­ing a pro­posal that would ban dis­crim­i­na­tion based on sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion or gen­der iden­tity statewide de­spite re­peated fail­ures to even get a hear­ing be­cause of op­po­si­tion from so­cial con­ser­va­tives in the Leg­is­la­ture.

Repub­li­can Sen. Kate Bro­phy McGee and Demo­cratic Rep. Daniel

Her­nan­dez on Thurs­day called for pas­sage of a mea­sure they say is needed to as­sure LGBTQ res­i­dents get the same pro­tec­tions as other cit­i­zens. They were joined at a Capi­tol news con­fer­ence by busi­ness and re­li­gious lead­ers who said it was needed to en­sure equal­ity and keep busi­nesses com­pet­i­tive.

Neil Gi­u­liano, pres­i­dent of the Greater Phoenix Lead­er­ship busi­ness group, said the state’s fail­ure to have laws en­sur­ing LGBTQ res­i­dents are treated equally is af­fect­ing hir­ing and ef­forts to at­tract busi­ness.

“Look at the states around us that are com­pet­ing in this re­gion — Cal­i­for­nia, Ne­vada, Colorado, New Mex­ico. All of them al­ready of­fer pro­tec­tion,” Gi­u­liano said. “Ari­zona quite frankly needs to get with it, get on the pro­gram and do all we can with re­gard to ta­lent ac­qui­si­tion and with re­gard to com­pet­i­tive­ness for our busi­ness sec­tor.”

That, how­ever, is eas­ier said than done. Sim­i­lar leg­is­la­tion failed to even get a hear­ing in the Repub­li­can-con­trolled Leg­is­la­ture the past two ses­sions, and faces strong op­po­si­tion from so­cial con­ser­va­tive and re­li­gious free­dom groups like the Cen­ter for Ari­zona Pol­icy, a pow­er­ful force at the Capi­tol.

The pro­posal “takes an ax to re­li­gious free­dom by amend­ing Ari­zona’s Re­li­gious Free­dom Restora­tion Act to al­low gov­ern­ment to ‘sub­stan­tially bur­den a per­son’s ex­er­cise of re­li­gion’ with ‘non-dis­crim­i­na­tion’ laws,” CAP Pres­i­dent Cathi Her­rod wrote in a lengthy news re­lease.

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