By a vote of 5-3, last night the Phoenix City Council broadened anti-bias protections to include LGBT residents. As usual, opponents lined up to scream that men in dresses were going to invade the city’s restrooms.
The Human Relations Ordinance revolves around adding three phrases to the city’s anti-discrimination policies when it comes to employment, housing, city contracts and public accommodations: “sexual orientation,” “gender identity” and “disability.” Phoenix is one of the few major cities in the country that hadn’t adopted a similar policy protecting civil rights of the LGBT community. Critics called the bill problematic.
“It gives an open door to any sexual predator, not the transgender community, but any sexual predator that pretends to be transgender. That person can go into the women’s restroom and this gives them easy access to women and, especially, children,” said Joe La Rue of the group Alliance Defending Freedom. Other cities which have implemented similar laws say those fears are unfounded.
Tucson changed its anti-discrimination policy in 1999. According to city officials, there have been no lawsuits and no criminal prosecutions. The mayor’s office in Salt Lake City said the change has been positive there, too. The city has had no legal challenges and only one complaint in 2010.
Yes, that’s the same ADF who recently saw one of their attorneys sent to prison for making kiddie porn with her daughter. Also vehemently opposing the bill, unsurprisingly, was the Archdiocese of Phoenix.