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Three cities in Arizona earn top ranks for advancing LGBT rights

(Flickr/Ted Eytan)

PHOENIX — Three cities in Arizona were honored by a national campaign for their efforts to advance LGBT rights and gender equality and recognition in their towns.

Tempe, Phoenix and Tucson were the three cities that were given a perfect score on this year’s Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index.

It was Tempe’s fourth year in a row scoring a perfect 100 on the index. The city is also one of six in the state enacting ordinances that ensure and protect the rights of LGBT citizens.

One of the campaign’s leaders, legislative counsel Xavier Persad, praised Tempe for enacting ordinances to protect LGBT rights.

“Recognizing the lack of state level protections in Arizona, Tempe fought to ensure the LGBT community here is fully protected from discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations,” he said.

Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell said the laws and ordinances adopted by Tempe is just the beginning.

“The fight for equality is far from over,” he said. “We need to continue our work on equality outside of the five [other] cities with non-discrimination ordnances and work for a comprehensive statewide non-discrimination ordnance.”

Despite this progress, Mitchell said the reality is that “we are still living in a time where state legislatures from across the country are still introducing anti-LGBT legislation.

“And we are seeing federal protections for LGBT people rolled back the current administration.”

It was also Phoenix’s fifth year in a row reaching a perfect score on the index.

In a tweet on Thursday, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton praised his city’s efforts for becoming more inclusive.

Several other Arizona cities did not fare as well on the index.

The three Arizona cities that scored the lowest were Avondale, Gilbert and Peoria. Avondale was given a 15, Gilbert was given a 19, while Peoria scored the highest of the three at 26.

Glendale scored a 55 out of 100, while Mesa was given a 60, Chandler a 61, Scottsdale a score of 65 and Flagstaff a score of 67.

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