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Policy Agenda

The Equality Arizona policy agenda a prioritized list of policy interventions that, when accomplished, will make Arizona a state where LGBTQ+ people can live and thrive.


Pro-Active Policy Priorities
  1. LGBTQ+ Inclusive Non-Discrimination

  2. Hate Crimes

  3. Conversion Therapy Ban for Minors

  4. Identity Records for Transgender Arizonans

  5. Access to Healthcare

Defensive Policy Priorities
  1. Anti-Transgender Bills

  2. Anti-LGBTQ+ Bills

  3. Bills that seek to limit the rights and personal choices of individuals and families

  4. Anti-Democracy Bills


LGBTQ+ Inclusive Non-Discrimination

As of January 2024, sexual orientation and gender identity are not protected classes in the Arizona Revised Statute (Arizona state law). We know that LGBTQ+ people face disproportionate discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations. 


Policy Solution

Updating the law to add sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes would ensure that LGBTQ+ Arizonans can not be fired for being LGBTQ+, can not be denied housing for being LGBTQ+, and can not be discriminated against in places of public accommodation, like emergency rooms, for being LGBTQ+. Since 2021 we have supported the Equality and Fairness for All Arizonans Act, a bipartisan bill that fully protects LGBTQ+ Arizonans from discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations.



Hate Crimes

As authoritarianism and populism have gained political popularity in our nation, so has the frequency of hate crimes. Every year the Federal Bureau of Investigation releases its annual hate crimes report. The 2022 Report (released in the Fall of 2023) showed an alarming increase in anti-LGBTQ+ hate crimes. Hate crimes perpetrated based on sexual orientation rose by 13.8% in 2022 and hate crimes perpetrated based on gender identity rose a shocking 32.9%. 


While the criminal justice system is not the solution for most of life’s problems or challenges, it is the appropriate system to work within when it comes to punishing those who commit violence against others simply because of who they are. Further, as we prepare for the 2024 election, it seems prudent to take the necessary steps in our criminal justice system to ensure that those who perpetrate violent acts against people because of extremist ideology can be punished if they act and hopefully to deter and disincentivize them from committing violent acts.


Policy Solution

Updating the A.R.S. in two ways would address this rising tide of hate and ensure that punishment is possible when these crimes are committed. First, add gender identity to the hate crimes statute as a human characteristic that hate crimes can be committed against. Second, make hate crimes a crime in and of themselves. Today, hate crimes are a sentencing modification only.

Conversion Therapy Ban for Minors

Conversion therapy is a disreputable and harmful practice. Neither sexual orientation nor gender identity can be changed – they are immutable human characteristics that we each experience a unique human being. It has been clear for decades that attempts to use therapy or other techniques to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity are deeply harmful and unsuccessful.


Children should never be subjected to this kind of therapy because of the potentially life-long harm that can be done through these debunked practices.


Policy Solution

Update the A.R.S. to ensure that licensed professional therapists, counselors, and other mental health practitioners are banned from practicing conversion therapy on minors. 


What about adults?

Adults have agency and autonomy. While EQAZ agrees with mental health professionals, doctors, and other experts that conversion therapy is tantamount to abuse and has no place in civil society, we also recognize that adults have a right to do with themselves and their lives as they choose.


What about religious, non-licensed conversion therapy?

Religious leaders, unlike therapists, counselors, and mental health professionals, are not licensed by a government entity. So, taking away a license does not prevent them from practicing.


Criminalizing conversion therapy, especially when it comes to what religious leaders or entities do, has first amendment problems. While EQAZ agrees with mental health professionals, doctors, and other experts that conversion therapy is tantamount to abuse and has no place in civil society, religious institutions and their employees and volunteers have a right to create programs that abide by their faith and doctrine. Instead of advocating for a policy intervention here, we work with faith institutions and leaders of every kind, to educate them on the harms of conversion therapy and the benefit of skilling parents to love and support their children if they come out as LGBTQ+.

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