Nov. 19, 2013
City Among Most Improved on LGBT Issues, National Group Says; Local Business Leaders Praise Phoenix’s Progress
The city of Phoenix has made some of the most significant strides to ensure equal treatment of members of the gay and lesbian community, according to a new report by the Human Rights Campaign.
Phoenix earned a perfect score of 100 in the latest municipal equality index (MEI), which was released this morning in Washington, D.C. It is one of only 25 cities in the country to earn a top score and one of only 8 cities to earn a perfect score without a supportive state anti-discrimination law in place.
Phoenix earned a score of 70 in 2012, and is the most improved city to earn a perfect score this year.
Earlier this year, Mayor Greg Stanton spearheaded an effort to pass a sweeping anti-discrimination ordinance that made it unlawful to discriminate against someone based on sexual orientation, gender identity or disability for the purposes of employment, public accommodations, housing, and government contracts. The City Council approved the measure in February.
“This perfect score is a testament to the hard work of so many people who understand that we are a stronger, and more vibrant and more economically viable city when we treat every person equally under the law,” said Mayor Greg Stanton. “Phoenix is now in a better place to attract talented employees, and we’ve sent a powerful message to business leaders everywhere that we have the kind of environment that’s conducive to growth.”
To recognize Phoenix’s progress, leaders from the Human Rights Campaign will travel to the Valley for an event and press conference on Tuesday, Nov. 26. Phoenix is the only Arizona city to earn a perfect score.
City Council Proud of Phoenix Leadership on Equality
“We are committed to making sure our community welcomes each person with open arms and full protection of the law against discrimination,” said Councilwoman Thelda Williams. “Phoenix is moving in the right direction, and I’m pleased that so many across the country are taking note.”
“We should accept nothing less than a perfect score when it comes to equality for all,” said Councilman Daniel T. Valenzuela. “Fostering a spirit of inclusiveness in our city is the right thing to do for our residents and for our economy - this is the kind of progress that will serve us well today and drive us toward a bright future.”
Local Business Leaders Praise Phoenix’s Progress
“Phoenix could not have become the sixth-largest city in America were it not an open-minded and welcoming place,” said Steve Moore, president and chief executive officer of the Greater Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau. “The convention and leisure-visitor industry embraces this spirit of inclusion, and also benefits from it. Our new convention center has hosted over one million delegates who recognize destinations that celebrate their diversity and awareness.”
“At PetSmart, we believe diversity makes us a better company, and we think the same holds true for the City of Phoenix,” said Andy Izquierdo, vice president of corporate affairs for PetsMart. “We are proud to be headquartered in a city that celebrates diversity and equality for all its residents. Congratulations to Mayor Stanton and the City on this exciting milestone.”
“Cities that promote diversity and equality are much better positioned to grow a strong economy,” said Kerwin Brown, President and Chief Executive Office of the Greater Phoenix Black Chamber of Commerce. “Phoenix has come a long way, and we’re proud to continue to work with business leaders and our elected officials to make sure every person in our community is treated with dignity and respect.”
“Phoenix's perfect score is a great achievement for our entire community,” said Angela Hughey, co-founder of One Community, a Phoenix-based anti-discrimination group. “Valuing equality and diversity is not only the right thing to do, it’s good for business. That's why nearly 800 Arizona businesses, big and small, have signed One Community's Unity Pledge.”
The Human Rights Campaign’s MEI evaluated 291 cities from every state based on LGBT non-discrimination protections, relationship recognition, employment, services and overall rapport with the LGBT community.