City of Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton Expands Efforts for LGBT Agenda

An article appears in the Arizona Republic this morning describing Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton’s latest drive to expand city authority in the area of  “sexual orientation” discrimination.

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton’s aides and a group of attorneys are working to draft ordinances that could outlaw discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender residents. 

The aides and attorneys believe that if rewritten, city laws would also give victims of such discrimination in restaurants and other businesses an opportunity to file complaints with the city’s Equal Opportunity Department for investigation — an option they currently do not have.

The effort comes as the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel near Van Buren and Third streets tries to recover from threats of boycott by the gay community over a decision by the manager of the hotel’s District American Kitchen & Wine Bar to expel a lesbian couple in late February. 

The hotel is owned by the city and managed under the Sheraton brand through a contract with Starwood Hotels and Resorts. 

Despite the incident at the hotel restaurant, the city’s Equal Opportunity Department, tasked with investigating discrimination complaints by workers or customers at businesses, has received no complaints of discrimination over sexual orientation or gender identity at downtown hotels. 

The department cannot investigate or respond to such complaints anyway because the city has not outlawed discrimination against lesbians, gays, bisexuals or transgenders. Such protections exist for the disabled and for ethnic minorities in areas such as employment, housing and public accommodations like hotels and restaurants. 

Stanton’s policy adviser, Brendan Mahoney is leading the mayor’s charge to address any gaps in the city’s human-rights protections. 

He has convened a group of attorneys — some from gay-rights organizations — who are analyzing the city code to determine how the laws could be amended to ensure equal rights for anyone, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. 

Mahoney said that, while the incident at the hotel restaurant “certainly brought the issue to the forefront,” the timing of the city effort is coincidental.

“This issue was on the mayor’s agenda,” he said.

“This issue was on the mayor’s agenda,” he said. (read entire article)

A few items for discussion here:

Should this even be considered an issue, let alone, a high priority issue for the City of Phoenix and Mayor Stanton? Is this even a serious problem for the City of Phoenix or will it be perceived as an effort to promote LGBT issues?

Was the Arizona Republic article fair or even necessary?

Any sound minded critical thinking person can argue the position that any property or asset the city owns is controlled by the City Council. (He who pays the piper, calls the tune.) But should this effort extend to non-governmental stakeholders or private property owners?

Would these efforts extend to segments of the faith-based community such as Evangelical churches, orthodox Jewish or Muslim mosques? For example, would these faith-based communities be prohibited from using city parking or other assets unless they adopt policies that codify sexual orientation into their bylaws?

Don’t get me wrong. I am sensitive to this issue (family members) and actually prefer that the government stay entirely out of this arena, but is this issue forcing itself to center stage unnecessarily? Is the LGBT community overextending their efforts on this? It’s no secret that Equality Arizona invested itself into the Phoenix Mayor’s election in 2011. Was that on purpose in order to use the City of Phoenix as a platform to push its agenda?

Would love to hear everyone’s thoughts on this. Please be respectful.


  1. The left continues to assault the Bill of Rights as they lump people into groups rather than treat people as individuals. Our rights noted in the Bill of Rights–and all of our Constitutional rights–are individual rights. The left loves to pit groups against each other, dividing rather than encouraging unity. Then the left claims to be on the side of the oppressed/offended in order to gin up the heat and secure their support (read that: money and votes). It’s the left that caters to the base desires in people–politics at its worst, pure and simple.

  2. So, RonJ, when an individual is discriminated against, what protections do they have, right now, in our current system of jurisprudence?

    • Conservative American says

      So, Klute, is it the case that individuals who are discriminated against have no protections right now in our current system of jurisprudence?

      • Re-read what RonJ said above:

        “Our rights noted in the Bill of Rights–and all of our Constitutional rights–are individual rights.”

        “So, Klute, is it the case that individuals who are discriminated against have no protections right now in our current system of jurisprudence?”

        Yes, certain groups absolutely have protections – outside of what the Constitution and the Bill of Rights originally offered.(for instance African-Americans, women, etc.). And if anyone can point to remedies in the Constitution, or Bill of Rights, or any other founding document that say “If a person is discriminated against by a private entity, then X must happen as restitution” I’ll be happy to say I’m wrong.

        But no, those “individual rights” that RonJ thinks are there *AND* protected by the Bill of Rights are emphatically not. Federal, state, and municipal laws are created to enforce those rights…

        “The left loves to pit groups against each other, dividing rather than encouraging unity.”

        That’s just puffery from RonJ, trying to tear the left down to build the right up. Guaranting that a new group of people can’t be denied services, housing, etc. overiding a private entity’s belief that “We don’t serve your kind here” actions is nothing new. I’m curious if RonJ’s opinion would be the same if instead of homosexuals, it were blacks, Asians, Latinos, Jews, etc.

        • Conservative American says

          I’m genuinely not clear on what you are saying, Klute. Too many issues at once, I think. Maybe you can break it down into individual rights and protection of groups at the federal level.

    • Conservative Railbird says

      Bernie, what about the rights of the patrons who don’t want to wittness PDA’s in public? Rights swings both ways. GLBTs should respect the rights of other restaurant patrons and the city has no business legislating social justice. I thought you were the champion of keeping government out of people’s personal business. Besides, its the right of the property owner to determine what behavior they’ll condone on their site not the City of Phoenix.

  3. Conservative American says

    The Democrat Party has been the primary political standard bearer for the homosexual “equality” agenda. Even now, there is contention within the Democrat Party as to whether or not support for homosexual “marriage” should be a plank in the 2012 Democrat platform. President Obama is supportive of the homosexual “equality” agenda despite not having come out directly in support of homosexual “marriage” per se:

    “President Obama is proud to support the Respect for Marriage Act, which has been introduced by Senator Dianne Feinstein and Congressman Jerrold Nadler. This legislation would uphold the principle that the federal government should not deny gay and lesbian couples the same rights and legal protections as straight couples.”

    Given the above, it comes as no surprise that Mayor Stanton, a Democrat, would be in line with the activism of the national Democrat Party on these sorts of issues. It would have been surprising had he been passive.

    Stanton won the election fair and square against the lackluster, less-than-conservative candidate offered up by the Republican establishment. Voters should know the priorities of Democrat office holders and there should be no surprise or whining about Stanton’s priorities at this point. He won. End of story. The ball is his.

    The potential ramifications of laws banning discrimination against LGBT people in the City of Phoenix could be manifold and far reaching. It depends entirely upon how such laws are written. They could be written tightly and narrowly with a very specific focus or they could be written loosely and broadly, allowing for a great deal of judicial interpretation. We don’t know, at this point, what the approach will be.

    Clearly, there is potential for much more than simply impacting the use of city facilities by churches and the faith-based community in general. There is the potential for such entitites to be told what they may and may not do on their own property and with their own property. That is why, especially given the treatment by Obama of the faith-based community in general, there has been so much attention paid to questions of religious freedoms when laws prohibiting alleged LGBT discrimination are being considered.

    The devil, as always, is in the details.

  4. LEO IN TSN says

    Just one more example of 1.4% of the population tail wagging the dog. Phoenix is going broke and the mayor is taking off on flights of ugly fancy.

    Elections really DO matter.

    God bless America.

    • Conservative American says

      The Republican leadership and the Republican establishment tell us that Conservative candidates can’t get elected. History has proven them wrong repeatedly. Despite this, the Republican leadership and the Republican establishment continue to run non-conservative candidates who LOSE, essentially throwing the fight and handing victory to “progressive” Democrats.

      Elections DO matter but they matter only when there are clear and well defined choices and differences represented by the candidates on the ballot. Progressive Democrat versus “moderate” Republican is not a choice. Why would Conservative voters be energized by a contest between “Progressive” and “Progressive Lite”? There is no enthusiasm for the “least worst”. The City of Phoenix mayoral election was proof of that.

  5. Conservative American says

    The city of Anchorage, Alaska, just voted on Proposition 5 which would have banned discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or transgender identity. While final official results have not yet been posted, the current numbers stand at about 58% against and 42% in favor of the proposition. Those supporting Proposition 5 claim voter disenfranchisement and the official results may eventually be contested. Does Mayor Stanton intend for voters to decide the fate of similar measures in Phoenix or would they simply be implemented without seeking voter approval?

    Opponents of Prop 5 objected to the fact that the term “transgender” was not defined in the legislation, thereby allowing for “open ended” enforcement. They also ran ads depicting how the legislation could negatively impact businesses.

    One ad depicted the owner of a gym being forced to allow someone defining themselves as “transgender” into the men’s locker room while doing so could cause a loss of business. A similar scenario was depicted for the owner of a child day care center who has a “transgender” job applicant. There could be no refusal to hire the person based on their “transgender” status but hiring the person could cause a loss of business.

    If Phoenix implements legislation similar to that proposed in Anchorage, would we be facing a plethora of potential legal problems which would eventually be decided by judges?

  6. Arizona Patriot says

    Are businesses like the hotel/restaurant not private enterprises? Do they not have the right to not serve someone. Are they not on private property?
    If anyone, regardless of sexual orientation, is acting in a manner that the owner or patrons feel is offensive then they have the right to ask them to change that behavior or leave the premises. Unfortunately much is lost in the reporting as the liberal media doesn’t report the truth.
    The problem is these groups instead of going about their business as the rest of us have to make a big deal out of it and instead of creating support their demands wanting to make their rights more important than ours only further isolates them.

Leave a Reply