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Arizona lawmakers introduce anti-LGBTQ discrimination bill

The legislation is supported by both Democrats and Republicans.

2022-02-08

Words: Alastair James; pictures: Wiki

Lawmakers in the US state of Arizona have introduced legislation that aims to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination, which notably has bipartisan support.

Both Democrats and Republicans, including the Republican House Speaker are backing the proposed bill, which also has the backing of some businesses and faith groups. However, there is still opposition from conservative groups.

According to reports, the legislation would protect LGBTQ people from discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity in workplaces, housing, and places of public accommodation.

"People from so many walks of life coming together"

The Associated Press reports that religious institutions would be exempt, but not individuals using faith as a basis for denying someone service. It would also prevent people from practicing 'conversion' therapy. 

AP also says businesses are supporting the legislation because they think it will boost the states' standing when it comes to conferences and events. 

Rep. Amish Shah, a Phoenix Democrat and one of the bill’s main sponsors says, "people from so many walks of life coming together based on values of fairness, and freedom for all," are supporting the bill.

Bishop Jennifer Reddall of the Episcopal Diocese of Arizona adds, "This bill means that every Arizonan can be viewed just for who they are, for who God made them in the image of God, and not be discriminated against."

However, Cathi Herrod, from the social conservative group Center for Arizona Policy, has called the legislation "very divisive and very controversial."

Sadly given the state legislature's Republican majority the legislation doesn't face an easy future. 

The Human Rights Campaign has said that 2022 could be one of the worst years for anti-trans legislation with 280 pieces of legislation making their way through state legislatures. It follows a difficult year when it comes to anti-LGBTQ legislation in the US last year.

A HRC reports says there were 79 pieces of anti-trans legislation in 2020 with 147 in 2021.

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