The committee “United for Mesa” has begun the process of collecting signatures in an attempt to overturn the recently passed non-discrimination ordinance in Mesa by referring it to the ballot for a citizen vote, which is disconcerting for Equality Arizona and other groups.
The ordinance passed with a 5-2 vote of the Mesa City Council on March 1. The ordinance, which protects all people, including LGBTQ people, from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations in Mesa is the result of years of dialogue with diverse stakeholders including businesses, faith leaders, community organizations and families, according to a release.
READ: Equality Arizona, ONE Community support passage of non-discrimination ordinance in Mesa
“Efforts to refer the LGBTQ inclusive non-discrimination ordinance to the ballot would have an immediate negative impact on Mesa’s reputation and our local economy,” Angela Hughey, president of ONE Community, said in the release. “The ordinance is about equal treatment, not special treatment. Attempts to overturn the ordinance sends a message that Mesa is only open to some, not all. This effort is reminiscent of previous prejudiced actions that put Arizona’s reputation in the national spotlight for all the wrong reasons such as the rejection of MLK Day, SB1070 and SB1062. From our years of work in Mesa, we have faith that Mesa residents will decline to sign the petition.”
“As a person who grew up in Mesa, this ordinance is a major victory for fairness, equality and opportunity for all, including LGBTQ people. These hateful efforts to overturn this critically important ordinance contribute to a narrative that Mesa residents are not inclusive or supportive of equal rights. That may be true of the Mesa I grew up in, but the Mesa of today strives to be better. Equal rights are universal values, central to the beliefs of Arizonans, faith communities, and good business practices. I join in asking Mesa residents to decline to sign the petition,” Michael Soto, executive director of Equality Arizona, said in the release.