Mesa becomes latest Arizona city to adopt non-discrimination ordinance

Mar 3, 2021, 4:55 AM | Updated: 6:51 pm
(Facebook Photo, City of Mesa)...
(Facebook Photo, City of Mesa)
(Facebook Photo, City of Mesa)

PHOENIX — Mesa has become the seventh city in Arizona to adopt a non-discrimination ordinance that protects members of the LGBTQ community and others.

It prohibits discrimination in employment, housing and places of public accommodation based on numerous factors, including race, ethnicity, disability, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity. The ordinance does not apply to churches, religious organizations and schools.

Mesa City Council members approved it Monday with a 5-2 vote after more than two hours of public comments.

Mesa Mayor John Giles said it was a “moderate” ordinance that leaves both sides wishing it went farther to support their viewpoints.

“To me, that’s a sign that this is a mainstream ordinance that hasn’t been dictated to us by any outside interest groups,” he said. “This is Mesa’s ordinance, and it demonstrates our city’s commitment to respecting and supporting equality and diversity in our city.”

Opponents argued that the ordinance was rushed without enough public input from concerned residents.

“Their collective voices should be heard and taken into consideration before a decision this magnitude is made,” Councilman Mark Freeman, who voted against the ordinance, said before the vote.

“Working in harmony, I believe we can find a way to not place a new burden on our businesses while also ensuring no person experiences discrimination in our community.”

Like Freeman, a few opponents also felt additional public discussion was needed.

Cathi Herrod, president of the Center for Arizona Policy, asked city councilmembers to delay the vote a few weeks to address concerns about the way the ordinance was written.

“In a number of the provisions, the language is vague and open to different interpretations – interpretations that may not align with how some of you interpret the language,” Herrod said.

Giles disagreed that the ordinance was rushed, noting councilmembers have been discussing a non-discrimination ordinance since 2014 as well as meeting with stakeholders.

Councilwoman Julie Spilsbury voted in favor of the ordinance despite opposition from constituents, including some who helped her get elected.

“The hate that I have received this week has helped me empathize and just see the smallest glimpse of what the LGBTQ community has felt like,” Spilsbury said while tearing up.

“I don’t begin to understand the why of being transgender, but I’ve listened to their stories,” she added. “I have felt their pain. They are a vulnerable group in our community, and I want to be part of a community that stands up for them.”

The ordinance goes into effect on June 29.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

( Screenshot)...
Kevin Stone

Here’s how to make sense of changes to Arizona’s COVID-19 dashboard

The Arizona Department of Health Services rolled out a variety of changes to how it presents data on its COVID-19 dashboard this week, some that could be confusing without further explanation.
16 hours ago
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)...
Associated Press

Judge again rules Arizona Senate’s election review records to be made public

A judge has rejected the Republican-controlled Arizona Senate’s contention that it can withhold a raft of communications between its leaders and private contractors they hired to conduct an unprecedented review of the 2020 election results in the state’s most populous county.
16 hours ago
(Facebook Photo/The University of Arizona)...
Kevin Stone

ASU, UArizona, NAU announce COVID-19 vaccine mandates for employees

Arizona’s three public universities announced Friday they will be requiring most employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Dec. 8.
16 hours ago
(Screenshot/City of Tempe YouTube)...

Explosion, fatal house fire in Tempe ruled ‘not accidental’

Authorities in Tempe said Friday an explosive house fire where two women were found dead this week was not accidental but stopped short of supplying any other conclusions.
16 hours ago
A Sri Lankan school student receives a COVID-19 vaccine in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Friday, Oct. 15, 202...

Arizona reports 2,399 new COVID-19 cases, 38 more deaths Friday

Arizona health officials on Friday reported 2,399 new COVID-19 cases and 38 additional deaths from the disease.
16 hours ago
(Facebook Photo/Mohave County Sheriff's Office)...
Associated Press

Arizona authorities say 2 drown on Colorado River near Lake Havasu City

Mohave County authorities say two people drowned Thursday on the Colorado River north of Lake Havasu City.
16 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Schwartz Laser Eye Center

How to sharpen your vision with elective procedures

Imagine opening your eyes in the morning and being able to see clearly. You wouldn’t have to wait to put on glasses or contacts, and there would be no more blurry showers nor forgetting where your glasses are.
Sweet James

Best fall road trips to take on a motorcycle

Autumn in Arizona brings the beauty of color-changing leaves and a relief from summer heat. It’s one of the most pleasant times to explore the outdoors, especially on a motorcycle.

More stroke patients eligible for acute treatment, thanks to research

Historically, patients underwent acute stroke treatments according to strict time guidelines. But thanks to recent advancements in stroke research, more patients are becoming candidates for clot-busting drugs and endovascular therapy at specialized centers like Barrow Neurological Institute.
Mesa becomes latest Arizona city to adopt non-discrimination ordinance