LGBTQ Non-Discrimination in the States

No Statewide LGBT Non-Discrimination Protections
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LGBTQ Nondiscrimination in Arizona:

There are currently no explicit, comprehensive statewide non-discrimination protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender people in Arizona. Public employees in Arizona are protected from employment discrimination based on sexual orientation, via a 2003 executive order.

The Latest on LGBTQ Nondiscrimination in Arizona:

In early 2014, Arizona was the subject of national attention when the passage of a discriminatory bill, S.B. 1062, led to an enormous outcry, including from some of the state’s largest employers and key businesses. The law was ultimately vetoed by Republican Governor Jan Brewer, but the legislature stopped well short of protecting LGBT people in Arizona from discrimination. Now, advocates are working to pass comprehensive LGBTQ nondiscrimination in Arizona.

History of LGBTQ Nondiscrimination in Arizona:

  • 1992: The City of Phoenix passes a local ordinance prohibiting city contractors with 35 employees or more from discriminating against workers based on sexual orientation. The ordinance falls short of comprehensive non-discrimination laws that had passed in many other cities throughout the country.
  • 1992-2003: Local and national organizations engage in conversations about who LGBT Arizonans are, and support for fully comprehensive non-discrimination grows.
  • February 1, 1999: The City of Tucson passes a local ordinance protecting residents from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, becoming the first in Arizona to do so.
  • June 22, 2003: Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano signs an executive order prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation – but not gender identity and expression – in state employment. Despite attempts to overturn the order in the courts, the Arizona Supreme Court denied requests to review the order in October 2003.
  • 2003-2013: Nondiscrimination gains support and builds momentum as local lawmakers grow to understand the importance of treating everyone fairly and equally under the law.
  • 2013-2014: Several cities and towns throughout Arizona – including Phoenix, Flagstaff, and Tempe – pass local ordinances protecting people from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. In the Arizona Legislature, legislation to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity is introduced several times, but none of the bills move forward.
  • February 26, 2014: Republican Governor Jan Brewer vetoes S.B. 1062, a bill that would have allowed any individual or business to use religion as an excuse to discriminate and refuse service to LGBT Arizonans. The law also would have preempted existing nondiscrimination protections passed at the local level. The veto followed pressure from Republican U.S. Senators Jeff Flake and John McCain, newspapers across the state, Republican Mayor Scott Smith of Mesa,  the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee, and dozens of major businesses.
  • June 24, 2015: Competitive Arizona launches a bipartisan campaign dedicated to passing comprehensive nondiscrimination protections for LGBT individuals. One Community Arizona continues to push forward for LGBTQ non-discrimination in Arizona. 
  • November 20, 2018: The city of Winslow passes a comprehensive nondiscrimination ordinance.

State/Agency Policies:

A 2003 executive order signed by Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation – but not gender identity and expression – in state employment.

Municipalities with Non-Discrimination Protections:

The following municipalities protect people from discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity and expression:

  • City of Flagstaff (2013)
  • City of Phoenix (2013)
  • City of Sedona (2015)
  • City of Tempe (2014)
  • City of Tucson (1999)
  • City of Winslow (2018)

Last updated January 5, 2021

Public Support:

  • A September 2013 poll found that approximately 63% of the state’s voters supported federal non-discrimination protections for LGBT individuals.

Active Litigation

Brush & Nib Studio v. City of Phoenix

Case Seeking Religious Exemption from LGBTQ Nondiscrimination Laws

Key Date: September 16, 2019 • Ruling from the AZ Supreme Court Review
Status: Limited Ruling in Favor of Business Seeking Anti-LGBTQ Exemption
Legal Team: Alliance Defending Freedom
Type: Public Accommodations Discrimination

On June 7, Alliance Defending Freedom indicated it would appeal to the AZ Supreme Court following the Arizona Court of Appeals' ruling, which upheld the city of Phoenix's nondiscrimination ordinance that protects LGBTQ from discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodations.

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