PHOENIX — Arizona ranks among the worst states in the nation for equality among lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents, according to a recent report from the Human Rights Campaign.
The state ranked in the “High Priority To Achieve Basic Equality” category, the organization’s lowest performing category in its’ State Equality Index.
Arizona is one of 30 states in the country that the Human Rights Campaign said lack explicit state-level workplace protections for all LGBT employees.
Catherine Alonzo, special advisor to Equality Arizona, said there are several reasons why Arizona was given the low grade.
“We have minimal rights and protections that secure equality for LGBT people,” she said. “Then we also have bad laws and policies on the books, which really are barriers for equal treatment.”
Alonzo said there are several state laws that allow members of the LGBT community to be discriminated against.
“Today in Arizona, you can be fired for identifying as being gay or transgender,” she said. “You can be asked to move out of your home, and can be refused service in a public case.”
Despite the negative grade, Alonzo said she acknowledges that some progress has been made in the state.
“Achieving marriage equality was fantastic,” she said. “But we have a lot more to do in terms of making sure that everybody in our state, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, is being treated absolutely the same.”
Alonzo said the state must ensure that there are equal rights and protections for everyone.
The Index assesses statewide LGBT-related laws and policies in areas such as parenting laws, non-discrimination laws, hate crimes laws, youth-related laws and policies, and health and safety laws and policies.