Phoenix City Council Abolishes Gender
Religion TodayReligious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
- 2013 Feb 28
An ordinance passed Wednesday night by the Phoenix City Council forces the city's businesses, charities and churches to consider hiring transgendered people and requires them to recognize any gender expression, even if that means allowing a man to use the women's restroom, WORLD reports. The bill, which passed 5-3, claims to protect against discrimination based on sexual preferences in public accommodations, housing, employment and city contracts -- but it also treads on the religious freedom of business owners and organizations. "It creates a lot of potential situations that force people to violate their religious beliefs, businesses are open to frivolous lawsuits, and women and children are exposed to uncomfortable situations," said Aaron Baer, communications director at Center for Arizona Policy. Baer said these problems have already arisen in cities where similar policies have passed. In Olympia, Wash., a 45-year-old male college student was allowed to use a girls' locker room, where he exposed himself in front of young girls, and businesses in states like Oregon have been threatened with fines for refusing to serve homosexual couples. The ordinance includes a religious exemption, but the wording is weak and could be open to multiple interpretations, Baer said. Councilman Sal DiCiccio, who voted against the bill, worries the language "is so broad, the floodgates of litigation against businesses will be opened." He complained the bill was rammed through the city council without any input from the businesses and companies that would be affected.