Republican and Democratic lawmakers are pulling opposite ways on protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in Arizona.
While some Republicans are supporting a bill to extend religious protections to businesses, a gang of Democrats have since introduced legislation to ban LGBT discrimination in employment.
-Over the Rainbow
The Republican-backed bill, Senate Bill 1062, would allow people to use religion as a defense in a lawsuit. The bill's sponsor, Republican Senator Steve Yarbrough, specifically has compared his legislation to the case in New Mexico, in which a wedding photographer refused to photograph a lesbian couple's wedding. Yarbrough's bill would give the photographer a defense, if that were an Arizona case.
This bill has been passed by legislators before, but it was among the bill vetoed by Governor Jan Brewer as part of her Medicare expansion power-trip last year.
On the other hand, no attention has been paid to what 15 Democrats have since introduced -- a bill to ban LGBT discrimination in employment.
Just as employers can't refuse to hire someone because of their race, color, religion, age, disability, national origin, or gender, SB 1443 proposes employers shouldn't be able to refuse hiring someone based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Though Democrats are still the minority in Arizona's Legislature, it's obvious which bill has a better chance of passing.
But Arizona has gay Republicans, too -- some of them very prominent figures. However, that doesn't seem to have too much of an effect on what goes on at the Legislature.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.