Phoenix To Vote on Expanding Anti-Discrimination Laws to Include Individuals with Disabilities and Members of LGBT Community
Phoenix Councilman Sal DiCiccio is trying to rally his ultra-right-wing conservative troops to oppose a policy proposal that aims protect individuals from discrimination because of their "sexual orientation," "gender identity or expression," and "disability."
DiCiccio calls the proposal a "radical left turn for Phoenix."
He attacks Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton for his support of the measure and for trying to "fast track" it.
The City Council is considering the proposal at 2:30 p.m. today at the Orpheum Theater (they're expecting a big crowd), 203 W. Adams Street.
How radical can the idea of expanding discrimination protection for members of the LGBT community when it adopted in places such as Salt Lake City about three years with the support of the Mormon church and business community. And, versions of anti-discrimination laws that apply to the LGBT community are found in cities, counties and states across the country.
Tucson expanded its anti-discrimination law back in 1999.
And even though the Phoenix measure specifically states the "ordinances will continue to contain exemptions for religious organizations, small private landlords, senior housing, and private clubs, among others," anti-discrimination opponents are firing up opposition on two fronts.
One, they claim the proposal is an assault on churches.
DiCiccio, in an official District 6 press release, claims to have "uncovered that it opens the door for criminal penalties against churches."
He poses the questions: "Should our priests, pastors, rabbis and bishops and stake presidents be made criminals by the City of Phoenix? Do you think it is the role of our city to impose criminal penalties against churches?"
The Center for Arizona Policy, a conservative policy group, claims the exemption for churches and others are "weak" because it could "force a church or a parachurch organization, like a Christian school to hire homosexuals and transgenders regardless of the church's religious beliefs."
And if you're not religiously inclined, opponents of the
LGBT community amendments to the anti-discrmination measure have tried to block it by dubbing it the "Bathroom Bill."
They are conjuring images of grown men disguising themselves as women and following little girls into restrooms.
Center for Arizona Policy -- and DiCiccio as their echo chamber -- warns parents that "there are no protections in this law to prohibit a predator from posing as a so-called "transgender" to gain access to a child through a restroom or locker room."
DiCiccio is quoted in the Arizona Republic expressing his concerns as a father: "I've got two small kids and I just would not feel comfortable having a man following them in the bathroom. This bathroom thing is a problem."
But it begs the question: Why would a parent so concerned about their child's safety send "small kids" alone into the restroom?
The argument assumes that 1) women are not capable of doing harm to children they spot unaccompanied in a public restroom and 2) somehow little boys alone in a men's restroom with grown men wearing men's clothes are perfectly safe -- it's only the little girls we should worry about.
Here's a list of cities, counties, states that, according to the Phoenix Mayor's Office, have adopted anti-discrimination measure that include a person's sexual orientation, and the year those proposals were first approved.
If anything, it begs the question why it has taken Phoenix so long to adopt such protections for members of the LBGT community and individuals with disabilities.