civil rights

Tempe, Tucson, Phoenix get perfect scores in gay civil rights report

Tempe, Tucson, Phoenix get perfect scores in gay civil rights report

In one year, Arizona has gone from being home to one city lauded as a leader in gay civil rights to sporting three municipalities garnering the accolades.

In 2013, Phoenix was the only city in Arizona to score 100 percent on the Human Rights Campaign's annual Municipal Equality Index. The index grades how U.S. municipalities treat lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents. The Human Rights Campaign is a national gay-rights organization.

This year, Tempe, Tucson and Phoenix received perfect scores on the 0-100 scale. The cities also were among 23 designated "All Stars," for excelling on matters of equality without relying on state law. Read more »

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Donors to Gay Causes Consider Their Next Steps

Donors to Gay Causes Consider Their Next Steps

The Arcus Foundation’s latest effort in support of gay and lesbian issues began with an ominous question: "Is there a future for the LGBTQ movement?"

The tagline speaks to a bubbling uncertainty among the movement’s philanthropic vanguard. After a number of legal victories on same-sex marriage, where should longtime supporters put their money now? And will today’s triumphs make tomorrow’s donors think the struggle for gay equality has already been won? Read more »

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Phoenix leaders say gay-marriage ruling good for business

Phoenix leaders say gay-marriage ruling good for business

Opponents of gay marriage, including Gov.Jan Brewer and Catholic bishops, criticized the judge's decision. Brewer said that with its decision, the court was eroding the people's power and overstepping its bounds. Brewer noted that Arizona voters in 2008 approved a state constitutional amendment to define marriage as a union of one man and one woman.

We asked: What impact do you think the ruling legalizing same-sex marriage will have in Phoenix? Please indicate whether you support or oppose the decision. Read more »

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Tempe voters weigh discrimination against gay people

Tempe voters weigh discrimination against gay people

Cities have become the battleground that pits individuals who advocate for religious liberties against those who struggle to secure equal rights for gay and transgender Americans.

The local clashes come after a more than 20-year effort by gay-rights groups to push the United States Congress to pass a federal law that would ban employers from discriminating against workers on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Last year, the U.S. Senate passed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) 64-32, bolstering gay-rights advocates' hopes for sweeping change. The measure stalled in the House.

Gay-rights leaders have increasingly sought success on a more local level. Read more »

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Colorado Civil Rights Panel: Baker Must Make Cakes For Gay Weddings

Colorado Civil Rights Panel: Baker Must Make Cakes For Gay Weddings

 Colorado's Civil Rights Commission on Friday ordered a baker to make wedding cakes for same-sex couples, finding his religious objections to the practice did not trump the state's anti-discrimination statutes.

The unanimous ruling from the seven-member commission upheld an administrative law judge's finding in December that Jack Phillips violated civil rights law when he refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple in 2012. The couple sued.

"I can believe anything I want, but if I'm going to do business here, I'd ought to not discriminate against people," Commissioner Raju Jaram said. Read more »

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Major Michigan companies want to ban LGBT discrimination against workers

Major Michigan companies want to ban LGBT discrimination against workers

Whirlpool, Dow Chemical, Google, Consumers Energy, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Herman Miller and Steelcase are among the founding members of the newly formed organization lobbying to make it illegal for employers to discriminate against workers based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The Michigan Competitive Workforce Coalition wants the state Legislature to add it to Michigan’s Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act, which outlawed discrimination based on religion, race, color and national origin and later added age, sex, height, weight, familial status or marital status. Read more »

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Gay Rights Push Shifts Its Focus South and West

Gay Rights Push Shifts Its Focus South and West

The country’s leading gay rights groups and donors, after a decade focused on legalizing same-sex marriage, are embarking on a major drive to win more basic civil rights and workplace protections in Southern and Western states where the rapid progress of the movement has largely eluded millions of gay men and lesbians.

The effort will shift tens of millions of dollars in the next few years to what advocates described as the final frontier for gay rights: states like Mississippi, Georgia, Arkansas and Texas, where Republicans dominate elected office and traditional cultural views on homosexuality still prevail. Read more »

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Gay community watches Mich. for legal landscape changes

Gay community watches Mich. for legal landscape changes

If you're overweight or old, pregnant or African American, your boss can't fire you for any of those reasons.

The law says so.

But if you're a gay man or lesbian, there's no such protection — one of several legal issues that weigh heavily on the gay community as it awaits a decision in Michigan's historic same-sex marriage trial. Read more »

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2 religion 'fixes' we don’t need

2 religion 'fixes' we don’t need

Legislation thrown together in response to a crisis almost always turns out to be heavy-handed or ineffective once it becomes a statute. Hard cases, as they say, make bad law.

But for really bad law — the kind with the potential for creating serious unintended consequences — nothing beats legislation that provides a solution for a non-existent problem.

Legislation sponsored in the House by Rep. Eddie Farnsworth, R-Gilbert, and in the Senate by Sen. Steve Yarbrough, R-Chandler, represents a good example of the latter. Both of their bills — identical, for the time being, at least — would reframe and expand the state’s religious-expression protection laws. Read more »

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