The City of Phoenix earned a perfect score in the Human Rights Campaign's measure of how inclusive city governments are of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.
Phoenix is one of just 25 cities nationwide that earned a perfect score, of a few hundred surveyed, and one of just eight cities to earn a perfect score in states with laws that restrict cities from being more inclusive of LGBT people.
The Human Rights Campaign took into account a variety of things, including a city's non-discrimination laws, relationship recognition, city benefits (for people employed by the city), municipal services, law enforcement, and city leadership's position on LGBT equality.
Looking at the criteria used to score the cities, Phoenix's perfect score is no mistake.
Just earlier this year, Mayor Greg Stanton pushed for an ordinance to ban discrimination in public accommodations. Despite a thorough freak-out campaign organized by the state's Religious Right, the ordinance was passed.
Stanton's wife Nicole has also been pushing expanded anti-bullying efforts, which are also recognized in the Human Rights Campaign's scorecard (and, were also opposed by the state's Religious Right).
In a statement from the City, Councilman Daniel T. Valenzuela says, "We should accept nothing less than a perfect score when it comes to equality for all. Fostering a spirit of inclusiveness in our city is the right thing to do for our residents and for our economy - this is the kind of progress that will serve us well today and drive us toward a bright future."
The statement says leaders from the Human Rights Campaign will travel here for an event and press conference next week to "recognize Phoenix's progress."
From Stanton's Twitter:
— Greg Stanton (@MayorStanton) November 19, 2013
Seven other Arizona cities were rated by the Human Rights Campaign, as Tucson scored a 90, Tempe scored a 72, and the others were all below 50.
Mesa scored a 41, Gilbert scored a 33, Scottsdale scored a 23, Chandler scored a 22, and Glendale limps behind with a score of just 13.
Phoenix's specific scorecard can be seen on the next page:
(To find any city's specific scorecard, click here.)
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"We are committed to making sure our community welcomes each person with open arms and full protection of the law against discrimination," said Councilwoman Thelda Williams. "Phoenix is moving in the right direction, and I'm pleased that so many across the country are taking note."
"We should accept nothing less than a perfect score when it comes to equality for all," said Councilman Daniel T. Valenzuela. "Fostering a spirit of inclusiveness in our city is the right thing to do for our residents and for our economy - this is the kind of progress that will serve us well today and drive us toward a bright future."
"Phoenix could not have become the sixth-largest city in America were it not an open-minded and welcoming place," said Steve Moore, president and chief executive officer of the Greater Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau. "The convention and leisure-visitor industry embraces this spirit of inclusion, and also benefits from it. Our new convention center has hosted over one million delegates who recognize destinations that celebrate their diversity and awareness."
"At PetSmart, we believe diversity makes us a better company, and we think the same holds true for the City of Phoenix," said Andy Izquierdo, vice president of corporate affairs for PetsMart. "We are proud to be headquartered in a city that celebrates diversity and equality for all its residents. Congratulations to Mayor Stanton and the City on this exciting milestone."
"Cities that promote diversity and equality are much better positioned to grow a strong economy," said Kerwin Brown, President and Chief Executive Office of the Greater Phoenix Black Chamber of Commerce. "Phoenix has come a long way, and we're proud to continue to work with business leaders and our elected officials to make sure every person in our community is treated with dignity and respect."
"Phoenix's perfect score is a great achievement for our entire community," said Angela Hughey, co-founder of One Community, a Phoenix-based anti-discrimination group. "Valuing equality and diversity is not only the right thing to do, it's good for business. That's why nearly 800 Arizona businesses, big and small, have signed One Community's Unity Pledge."