On March 1, the Mesa City Council took a historic step and passed an LGBTQ+ inclusive non-discrimination ordinance.
This ordinance will fully protect LGBTQ+ families and individuals from discrimination in public accommodations, employment, and housing in the City of Mesa. This model ordinance is the result of visionary leadership by the Mayor and City Council members, years of collaboration between city leaders and stakeholders.
In his comments in favor of the ordinance, Mayor John Giles said, “Tonight we celebrate equality, respect and fundamental rights.” This ordinance is a major victory for fairness, equality for all, and for LGBTQ+ people and families in Mesa. It will have an immediate benefit for the City and its people.
The City of Mesa joins six other Arizona cities with inclusive non-discrimination ordinances including Winslow, Flagstaff, Sedona, Phoenix, Tempe and Tucson. Arizona has no statewide law barring discrimination against LGBTQ+ people in employment, housing or public accommodations.
“We know the costs of discrimination are too high, especially after the devastating impact of the pandemic on our local economy,” said Angela Hughey, President of One Community. “The passing of this ordinance sends a clear message that Mesa is ready to lead in economic recovery and committed to growing as a model city for the 21st century. We are grateful to Mayor John Giles, Vice Mayor Jen Duff, Councilmember David Luna, Councilmember Francisco Heredia, and Councilmember Julie Spilsbury for their leadership and willingness to work with stakeholders across the community."
“Inclusion and equal rights are universal values, central to the beliefs of Arizonans, faith communities, and to good business practice,” said Michael Soto, Executive Director of Equality Arizona. “We all deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, without exception, and this ordinance is a historic step forward for Mesa and Arizona.”
It was clear from personal testimony that passing the non-discrimination ordinance tonight was the right choice for the City of Mesa. While changing the law will not end all unfair treatment overnight and will not change the hearts of people who hold personal bias against LGBTQ+ people, it is essential to ensuring that all people, including LGBTQ+ people, who want to work and make their homes in the city of Mesa are treated fairly, treated equally, and have the same opportunities as every other resident.
Tonight, every Mesa resident will go to bed knowing that their home, their city, is a place where fairness is valued, and that Mesa is open to all.