Lambda Legal Hails Passage of Human Relations Ordinance in Sedona, Arizona

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September 8, 2015
Jennifer C. Pizer, Law and Policy Project Director

The Sedona, Arizona, City Council amended the City Code to include a new chapter prohibiting discrimination in public accommodations, employment and housing on the basis of race, color, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, marital status, familial status, age, disability or veteran status. Lambda Legal provided technical consultation to the City and local attorneys on the drafting of the ordinance.

Sedona justly presents itself as a warm, welcoming community and a beautiful tourist destination that is open for business to everyone. Today, the city has confirmed the accuracy of that reputation. This ordinance strikes the right note, creating straightforward non-discrimination protections including gender identity and sexual orientation, and offering a model for other Arizona cities that want to express clearly their openness to everyone.

The passage of this ordinance is a welcome development in Arizona, given the reputation for intolerance it earned among many by passing its draconian 2012 anti-immigrant law, SB 1070, and then, two years later, new religious rights to discriminate against gay and transgender people in SB 1062, a bill eventually vetoed by former Gov. Jan Brewer. Sedona officials are choosing to present a different face, and are doing so with a thoughtful and well-crafted ordinance that aims to resolve conflicts quickly and fairly.

Sedona is charting a positive path for its civic and economic future, and we look forward to seeing other Arizona municipalities follow Sedona’s lead.

Sedona’s City Council solicited broad community input about the proposed ordinance before a public hearing on August 12, 2015.  Many community members provided enthusiastic support. Among those was Competitive Arizona, a coalition of business, civic and faith leadership, community groups, and civil and human rights advocates. Lambda Legal is a member of Competitive Arizona.