ENDA bill filed by Democrats in the Arizona Legislature

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

In analyzing the Religious Bigotry bills approved in the House Government Committee earlier this week, I pointed out that:

The Arizona legislature has regularly refused to amend the state civil rights act to extend employment non-discrimination and non-discrimination in public accommodations and public housing to gays and lesbians since 1996. Since there is no cause of action under either the state or federal civil rights acts for gays as a protected class, this bill is a proactive right to discrimination.

A bill to amend the Arizona Civil Rights Act to add non-discrimination against gays and lesbians (and also transgenders) has been filed every year since 1996, to the best of my recollection, and this year is no exception.

Democrats have once again filed the state version of the Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA), SB 1443 (.pdf), which would amend the Arizona Civil Rights Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of "gender, gender identity or expression, and sexual orientation."

The principle sponsors of the bill are: Sens. Steve Gallardo, Andrea Dalessandro, Steve Farley, Katie Hobbs, Lynne Pancrazi, Anna Tovar; and Reps. Martín Quezada and Victoria Steele.

Cosponsors of the bill are: Sens. Ableser and Robert Meza; and Reps. Lela Alston, Ruben Gallego, Debbie McCune Davis, Juan Mendez and Eric Meyer.

If your elected representative(s) has not yet signed on as a cosponsor, give him or her a call. That goes for Republicans as well.

The bill has been assigned to the Government and Environment Committee, and Rules Committee. First and second reads of the bill are completed.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if the Arizona political media gave this bill as much attention as it gives to religious bigotry bills. The Phoenix New Times has a brief post, Arizona Democrats Propose Banning LGBT Employment Discrimination. It will take a media campaign and the business community to shame this Arizona legislature into passing this bill.

If this state wants to attract new businesses and highly skilled employees and entrepeneurs, it needs to end discrimination against individuals based upon who they are and who they love to make this state more inviting. Passing this law would send a message to the rest of the country and to the world that Arizona has finally "evolved" and joined the 21st Century.

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