PHOENIX -- Tomorrow, Vice President Mike Pence is scheduled to headline an event for the National Republican Senate Campaign (NRSC), raising money for Arizona’s eventual Republican nominee to the U.S. Senate. Those vying for the nomination -- Joe Arpaio, Rep. Martha McSally and Kelli Ward -- have long, disturbing records undermining LGBTQ equality, which include an opposition to marriage equality and a lack of support for the Equality Act. non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people.
“The choice come November could not be clearer for fair-minded Arizonans,” said HRC Arizona State Manager Justin Unga. “Ward, McSally and Arpaio have proven that they will not represent all Arizonans equally and fairly, and will only double down on the anti-equality agenda laid out by the Trump-Pence administration. Kyrsten Sinema is the champion we need in the United States Senate to ensure that every Arizonan has a fair shot at the American dream -- and that’s why HRC has proudly endorsed her.”
Joe Arpaio, a convicted criminal, built his career on attacking nearly every marginalized community, including using anti-LGBTQ schemes to humiliate inmates at his ‘Tent City’ prison. Following a long record of flouting the law, violating the civil rights of Maricopa County’s Latinx population, and carrying out a hate-filled agenda through extreme racial profiling, Arpaio was found guilty of criminal contempt, but was pardoned by Trump last August. He continues to campaign against the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which provides much needed relief for undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children -- including 75,000 LGBTQ Dreamers.
Kelli Ward has consistently supported and voted in favor of legislation that would undermine LGBTQ equality. As a state senator, Ward voted three times to expand Arizona’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which created a license to discriminate, and has consistently declined to support pro-equality legislation. She even called for the impeachment of U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch after Lynch filed a complaint alleging North Carolina was discriminating against transgender people, following that state legislature’s passage of the notorious HB2 in 2016. Ward also praised the Trump for pardoning Arpaio, released policy plan calling for a border wall and opposes protections for DACA recipients.
Rep. Martha McSally has long opposed marriage equality and consistently supported discriminatory, anti-LGBTQ policies and proposals while in Congress, including an amendment that would allow discrimination against LGBTQ people by taxpayer-funded organizations. She has also refused to criticize the Trump-Pence administration's efforts to ban qualified transgender service members from the military.
Ward, McSally and Arpaio’s anti-LGBTQ positions line up with the Trump-Pence administration's discriminatory agenda, and reveal how out of touch they are with the majority of Arizona voters who support protections for LGBTQ people. HRC recently released a report and microsite exposing Pence’s inside-the-White House efforts to continue his decades-long crusade against equality by leading the administration’s attacks on LGBTQ people, including members of the military and those living with HIV and AIDS.
HRC-endorsed Representative Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-9) is a staunch advocate for the LGBTQ community, earning a perfect 100 on HRC’s Congressional Scorecards in each Congress since she was elected in 2012. Sinema is also a cosponsor of the Equality Act, crucial federal legislation that would extend comprehensive federal protections to millions of LGBTQ Americans.
In Arizona, HRC has identified more than 800,000 “Equality Voters” -- voters who support progressive LGBTQ policies including marriage equality, equitable family law, and laws that would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. HRC has prioritized investments and organizing in Arizona in the 2018 cycle, and has already put staff and resources on the ground in the state. Last year, HRC announced a coast-to-coast campaign called HRC Rising, which represents the largest grassroots expansion in the organization’s 38-year history.
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community
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