HRC responded to a decision in the Arizona Supreme Court undermining Phoenix’s six-year-old non-discrimination ordinance.
“Governor Ducey’s Supreme Court just issued a license to discriminate against Arizona’s LGBTQ community in an alarming decision that puts the state’s people, reputation, and the economy at risk,” said HRC Deputy Campaign Director Justin Unga. “For years, Arizona’s economic councils, lawmakers, and leaders from every community, including faith and business leaders, worked together to build an Arizona that is open to everyone and attract investments from across the country. Not only does this decision affect countless LGBTQ Arizonans, it sends a message about inclusivity to businesses and institutions seeking to invest in states that welcome all people. Today's decision could also open the door for discrimination against other communities protected by the ordinance including religious minorities and women. LGBTQ Arizonans pay taxes, own businesses, serve in our military and contribute to our economy, and they deserve a government that stands with them. HRC joins the vast majority of Arizonans who believe discrimination is wrong, and we will mobilize the over one million Equality Voters in Arizona to proactively pass pro-equality reforms and elect leaders who believe all people deserve dignity and respect.”
Earlier this year, the Arizona Supreme Court heard arguments in Brush & Nib Studio v. City of Phoenix. The Brush & Nib Studio proactively sought the authority to turn away same-sex couples in violation of a Phoenix city ordinance banning discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation. The Supreme Court received this case after the Arizona Court of Appeals issued a ruling denying the business owners the ability to discriminate against same-sex couples. HRC joined the ACLU in an amicus brief supporting LGBTQ rights and the City of Phoenix.
Prior to this case, Arizona confronted yet another attack on LGBTQ rights in SB 1062, a bill from the Arizona legislature that would have allowed individuals to refuse service because of a person's gender identity or sexual orientation. That bill caused tremendous backlash from the business community both in Arizona and across the nation. At a point, the NFL even threatened to move Super Bowl XLIX if the legislature did not pull the bill, putting millions of dollars in expected revenue at risk. After continued pressure from business groups and civil rights organizations like the Human Rights Campaign, then-Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed the bill.