Over two hundred businesses and faith leaders support LGBTQ equality

 

As non-discrimination efforts advance across Arizona with the passage of a non-discrimination ordinance in Mesa and Scottsdale expected to pass an ordinance this evening, business and faith leaders have come together in support of equal treatment for LGBTQ people. 

Over 150 business leaders including the Arizona Community Foundation, Arizona Coyotes, Arizona Craft Brewers Guild, Arizona Diamondbacks, Arizona Lodging and Tourism Association, Arizona Technology Council, Chicanos Por La Causa, Greater Phoenix Economic Council, Greater Phoenix Leadership, Local First Arizona, Marriott Business Council, Sunbelt Holdings and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona have signed onto a letter supporting equal treatment for LGBTQ people, and seventy-five faith leaders have signed onto an open letter in support of equal treatment for LGBTQ people, including leaders from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Episcopal, Lutheran, Methodist, United Church of Christ and Jewish faiths.

“Equal treatment has overwhelming support among Arizonans and Americans, which is reflected in the diversity of the signers of these letters. At its core, protecting people from discrimination is about treating others as we want to be treated. All hard-working people, including those who are LGBTQ, want to do their jobs and provide for their families. Nobody should have to live in fear that they can be legally fired, evicted from their homes, or kicked out of a store just for being who they are,” said Angela Hughey, President and Co-Founder of ONE Community.

“Inclusion and equal rights are universal values, central to the beliefs of Arizonans, faith communities, and to good business practice,” said Michael Soto, Executive Director of Equality Arizona. “Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect, without exception, and it’s clear that leading Arizonans agree.” 

An Open Letter from the Arizona Business Community:
As citizens and leaders in the business community, we write in support of non-discrimination ordinances that protect all people, including LGBTQ people, from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations. When it comes to attracting and retaining top talent, businesses like ours need all of the available tools in the toolbox. In Arizona, we’re fortunate to have a lot of those tools: a great business environment, affordability, beautiful climate, and more. However, the crucial missing piece is equal treatment for all residents.  Arizona’s current non-discrimination law protects employees based on race, age, gender, religion, national origin and disability, but that protection does not extend to sexual orientation or gender identity. That means, in Arizona, it is not illegal to fire someone, deny housing or refuse service based on who they are or who they love. 
We represent a wide range of industries, but what we have in common with each other and with so many industries nationwide, is that we all need talent to succeed and we all want Arizona to succeed. 

In very practical terms, by denying legal protections to those in the LGBTQ community, we risk losing talent and business to nearby states – Nevada, California, Colorado, and New Mexico – that offer the guarantee of equal protection under the law. Our lack of equal treatment for all people is not only wrong, but it is also bad for economic sustainability and growth. It puts us at risk of reputational damage from discriminatory measures like SB1062 that threatened the loss of large national events like the Super Bowl.  Arizona can no longer afford to have unnecessary barriers in place that put us at a distinct disadvantage.  

We believe that the majority of people are good and don’t discriminate, but when discrimination does occur, it’s important for people to have legal recourse. It’s just not enough for businesses to have inclusive policies. People should be protected both in and out of the workplace, and our state’s stance on equal protections sends an important message to current and prospective talent about our values and culture.  Simply put, protecting people from discrimination is about treating others as we want to be treated. The principles of non-discrimination are rooted in core American values of fairness, equality, and opportunity.  All hard-working people, including those who are LGBTQ, want to do their jobs and provide for their families. Nobody should have to live in fear that they can be legally fired, evicted from their homes, or kicked out of a store just for being who they are.  

In fact, 94% of Fortune 500 companies have non-discrimination policies that include sexual orientation and gender identity. If we wish to continue to attract and retain these companies, now is the time for Arizona to have a non-discrimination law to match. It is not enough for these companies to have employment protections – they want their employees protected both in and out of the workplace.

It’s reassuring to know that non-discrimination ordinances aren’t a partisan issue. A 2018 poll by OH Predictive Insights showed that likely voters favored non-discrimination protections in employment, housing and public services at over 70%, and self-identified likely conservative voters favored those protections at over 50%.

Most importantly, all of us care about safety and privacy.  Contrary to false arguments by the opposition, nothing about LGBTQ inclusive ordinances changes the fact that it is illegal to enter a restroom or facility to harm or harass people or invade their privacy.  Any predator who tries to enter a women’s facility would be subject to arrest and prosecution just as they are today.  It’s important to know that more than 300 cities across the U.S. have already implemented these types of ordinances with no increase in public safety incidents.

If we want to live in a place that remains competitive, attracts the very best talent, has a strong economy, and is a vibrant place to live, then we must also be open for business to everyone. We respectfully urge all Arizona residents to join in support of public policy that provides equal protections for LGBTQ people.


For a full list of Business signers visit here 

An Open Letter to Arizona Residents: As citizens and leaders in the community, we write in support of non-discrimination ordinances that protect all people, including LGBTQ people, from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations, while also protecting important religious rights.No one should be denied these protections for being LGBTQ, and likewise religious persons and institutions should be protected in practicing their faith. We are deeply concerned that the ongoing conflicts between religious liberty and LGBTQ rights are poisoning our civil discourse, eroding the free exercise of religion and preventing diverse people of good will from living together in respect and peace. We hope that every level of government will apply these common values and core principles in a balanced approach with all stakeholders engaging in respectful dialogue. LGBTQ rights and religious freedom do not have to be in conflict. Instead, we can come together to protect all people and unify our community on what has for too long been a divisive issue. We respectfully urge all Arizona residents to join in support of public policy that provides protections for LGBTQ persons as well as people and institutions of faith.

For a full list of Faith signers visit here

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