Equality Arizona

URGENT UPDATE: Phoenix Anti-Discrimination Policy

Dear Friends,

The Phoenix City Council will tomorrow consider including sexual orientation and gender identity/expression and disability in the City’s anti-discrimination policy. This is important reform that will put us on a list of over 165 cities nationwide with an inclusive policy.

Extreme groups have gone to work telling lies about the ordinance, labeling it “The Bathroom Bill” – even though the policy will have no effect on bathroom usage. Below is the full text of Councilman Sal DiCiccio’s scaremongering email full of complete lies about the policy and what it does.

The ordinance is even getting positive national attention with the Human Rights Campaign National Field Director, Marty Rouse, sending out a call to action to contact your City Council representative and urge them to support the non-discrimination policy.

Here are three things you can do to stand up against lies and dirty tactics and ensure the ordinance becomes law in Phoenix:

Attend the Phoenix City Council meeting tomorrow in support of the ordinance. The meeting has been moved due to high expected attendance and will take place at 2:30 P.M. at the Orpheum Theater, 203 West Adams Street.
Call the City Council members and urge them to support an anti-discrimination policy that affects ALL Phoenix residents.
District 1 – Thelda Williams – (602) 262-7444
District 2 – Jim Waring – (602) 262-7445
District 3 – Bill Gates – (602) 262-7441
District 4 – Tom Simplot – (602) 262-7447
District 5 – Daniel Valenzuela – (602) 262-7446
District 6 – Sal DiCiccio – (602) 262-7491
District 7 – Michael Nowakowski – (602) 262-7492
District 8 – Michael Johnson – (602) 262-7493

Spread the word. Urge your friends, co-workers and neighbors to get involved. The opponents of the ordinance are attempting to defeat it with outright lies. We must not let them.

Yours in the fight,

Rebecca Wininger
Equality Arizona, President of the Board

From Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio:

Phoenix ready to take a radical left turn? Small Business to be hit with Criminal Penalties.

This is turning out to be a really bad month for Phoenix residents and it looks like a radical agenda is now being moved forward. First, Phoenix is selling its citizens on “pension reform”, but the reality is, it is anything but reform. Second, it clearly appears Mayor Stanton is going back on his word to abolish the food tax “by April 2013” as he promised. Finally, and this is a big one, the Mayor is pushing through an ordinance that will subject every single business in Phoenix with criminal penalties and open the door to civil litigation. This ordinance will require all business to accommodate gender identity and gender expression – or face criminal penalties and civil lawsuits.

Keep reading: Criminal Penalties coming to your Small Business.

If you own a business, please be sitting down when you read the latest proposal. The new ordinance being fast-tracked by Mayor Stanton is a disaster for local small businesses in the City of Phoenix. For the first time, any business with one or more employee will be subject to criminal penalties of up to a Class 1 misdemeanor, the highest misdemeanor one can receive. The proposal requires all businesses that operate in Phoenix to accommodate any individual that wants to express their personal gender or identity. If for example, a man wanted to use the woman’s bathroom in order to express himself then the business owner will be required to allow him to do that or face a criminal penalty and civil litigation. A criminal penalty that will be enforced by the City of Phoenix.

This is a difficult thing to discuss. It opens the door to individuals claiming you are a bigot, old fashioned and someone who condones discrimination. Nothing could be further from the truth. I believe in full transparency and you, the citizens, have every right to know what your leaders are up to. And, you need to know about it before it passes next week.

The language of the ordinance is so broad; the floodgates of litigation against businesses will be opened. What’s worse, the business community has not even been made aware of this and almost all of the elected leaders in the City were unaware of these proposed changes until last week. This tactic of ramming through such dramatic changes without input from community that will be impacted the most, our local small businesses, shows a total disregard for our business community. This lack of transparency must stop immediately. I have sent a letter and called on the City Manager to immediately notify all businesses in the City of Phoenix of these changes-before the vote next week.

This proposed ordinance should be continued to allow all affected parties an opportunity to comment and have their voices heard. Discrimination is deplorable and we should not stand for it. However, the proposed changes are poorly crafted and go after a non-existent problem. If this ordinance passes as it is expected to do, business will be forced to hire more lawyers than employees.