Post submitted by Charlie Joughin, HRC Press Secretary
Today the Arizona Technology Council, the state’s largest trade association for technology businesses and a longtime leader of the technology community, announced it would add issues of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality to its lobbying platform agenda. HRC praised the decision, noting the growing support for issues of equality in the Grand Canyon State.
“We’re thrilled the Arizona Technology Council has officially added LGBT equality advocacy to its public policy platform,” said Sheila Kloefkorn, member of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation's Board of Directors. “America’s businesses learned long ago that implementing LGBT-inclusive policies is not only the right thing to do, it’s good for the bottom line. Now is the time for lawmakers in Washington, in Phoenix and across the state to take a stand for basic fairness and work to enact legislation that makes Arizona a more equal and just place to do business.”
The Arizona Technology Council advocates for a technology-based, pro-growth, business-focused agenda. Under the direction and skilled leadership of President and CEO Steven G. Zylstra, the Council and its Public Policy Committee included in its 2014 Public Policy Guide measures detailing the need for LGBT non-discrimination laws pertaining to employment, housing and public accommodations. Currently neither the state of Arizona nor the U.S. federal government has such laws.
Earlier this month both Republican U.S. Senators from Arizona, John McCain and Jeff Flake, voted in favor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would provide basic protections against workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity at the federal level. However, Speaker John Boehner has stated he has no intention of bringing the bill up for a vote in the U.S. House.
“Innovation is more important now than ever before, and Arizona’s businesses should not be limited in their quest for the best and brightest employees because of the state’s discriminatory laws,” said Zylstra. “Creating more equal and inclusive workplaces is paramount to the success of businesses, and that’s why working to pass LGBT non-discrimination measures will be a top priority for the Arizona Technology Council.”
Last month HRC released the 2013 Municipal Equality Index, which examines the laws, policies, and services of municipalities and rates them on the basis of their inclusivity of LGBT people who live and work there. Phoenix earned a perfect 100 percent, with Tucson scoring a 90 percent and Tempe receiving 72 percent. Scores for other Arizona cities can be found here.