Gov. Doug Ducey (R-AZ) announced last week that he doesn’t support expanding state laws to ban discrimination against individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation.
Ducey said he was “against discrimination in all its forms,” but does not think it’s necessary to provide legal protections to the LGBTQ community, the Arizona Daily Star reports.
The state’s current protections make it illegal to refuse to provide goods or services to anyone because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin or ancestry. Another law prevents employment discrimination against the same protected classes of people.
But neither measure includes LGBTQ individuals and discrimination against LGBTQ people in employment and business transactions is currently legal in Arizona.
Arizona lawmakers tried to expand the list to include both sexual orientation and gender identity this year, but none of the three bills introduced got a hearing.
Ducey said that the state has enough laws as is, adding that he doesn’t see a reason to enshrine protections for LBGTQ individuals into law.
Ducey also said he agreed with the Arizona Supreme Court’s recent 4-3 ruling that the Christian owners of a calligraphy firm have the right to refuse to create wedding invitations for same-sex couples.
That decision, which came after Ducey “packed” the court by expanding its size to include two more conservative judges, sparked immediate backlash from the LGBTQ community.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), a civil rights organization focused on achieving equality for LGBTQ Americans, quickly released a statement, blasting the ruling.
“Governor Ducey’s Supreme Court just issued a license to discriminate against Arizona’s LGBTQ community in an alarming decision that puts the state’s people, reputation, and the economy at risk,” said the HRC’s Deputy Campaign Director Justin Unga.
Unga also criticized the decision for the message it would send about the state’s inclusivity and treatment of the LGBTQ community.
“LGBTQ Arizonans pay taxes, own businesses, serve in our military and contribute to our economy, and they deserve a government that stands with them,” read the statement.
While groups like HRC will continue to fight for stronger protections for the LGBTQ community, given Ducey’s latest comments, it’s unlikely they’ll find an ally in the Governor’s mansion anytime soon.