Phoenix City Council Approves LGBT and Disability Anti-Discrimination Measure
After hours of debate, the Phoenix City Council voted 5 to 3 to approve a measure that expands the city's anti-discrimination measure to include members of the LGBT and disabled community.
Councilmen Sal DiCiccio, Jim Waring and Bill Gates voted against the hotly contested measure.
Councilman Michael Nowakowski, participating on the phone while at the airport, missed two flights in order to express his support for the ordinance. He had to take the last available flight and didn't get a chance to vote.
The issue drew strong support and opposition from Phoenix residents, business and religious leaders.
There were concerns that the expanded measure would violate the rights of churches, but a further clarification seemed to assuage those issues.
Some speakers took their time in the public venue to express their views about the immorality of homosexuality, others shared their personal experiences of discriminations as gay, lesbian and transgender individuals.
There was much discussion by opponents of the measure that language in ordinance created a loophole that would allow men to dress as women and infiltrate the women's restroom and attack women and children.
Supporters dismissed those concerns, and several expressed outrage that members of the LGBT community were equated with sexual predators and deviants.
"This isn't about bathroom security," said Councilman Danny Valenzuela, adding that it was about human rights and equal opportunity for all.