Mesa City Council approves anti-discrimination ordinance with protections for LGBTQ+ community

The Mesa City Council has voted to approve a proposal to enact an anti-discrimination ordinance within the city on Monday.

In a statement, Mesa city officials say the ordinance will ban discrimination in employment, housing and places of public accommodation based on race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, disability, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, veteran’s status, marital status, genetic information or familial status.

"The ordinance does not apply to religious corporations and organizations, public schools, religious schools and charter schools. It does not apply to single-sex designated areas of a place of public accommodation or single-sex sports and recreational leagues and programs. In addition, the ordinance does not displace or repeal any criminal laws," read a portion of the statement

FOX 10 first reported on efforts by the East Valley city to pass an anti-discrimination ordinance in January. At the time, the city's mayor, John Giles, says the ordinance is on the list of his top priorities.

The ordinance, introduced on Feb. 22, also includes protections that are specific to the LGBTQ+ community.

"It protects employment and housing and something called public accommodation. Public accommodation means the ability to engage in business, to be treated the same as other people in a business context, that they have not been a protected class when it comes to employment and housing, and some of the things that we all take for granted so specifically. This would clarify and add LGBTQ to the list of protected classes," said Mayor Giles in January.

Michael Soto with Equality Arizona said on Feb. 22 that across Arizona, he knows families in the LGBTQ+ community that feel left out, who feel they don't have the same access and opportunities others do. Soto says the new ordinance will break barriers for many.

"The non-discrimination ordinance is meant to create a level playing field, and meant to create fairness for everyone who lived in Mesa," said Soto. "The idea here is to prevent discrimination based on who people are. That's something that, like I said, we have known in this country is wrong for a long time, and we have taken steps for decades to correct that, and we don't want people discriminated against because of their race, ethnicity, class, their ability, lots of different categories."

The ordinance, according to a statement released on Mar. 1, will take effect on Jun. 29, 2021.

Related stories

Tune in to FOX 10 Phoenix for the latest news

Get breaking news alerts in the FOX 10 News app. It is FREE! Download for Apple iOS or Android.

Sign up for FOX 10 email alerts, newsletters