"We are open for business," said Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell. "We don't discriminate. We're a fabulous community and I think you see that over and over." (Source: CBS 5 News)
TEMPE, AZ (CBS5) -
The Tempe City Council unanimously approved a very inclusive anti-discrimination ordinance Thursday night.
It's the fourth city in the state to do so and not one person raised any objections.
"We are open for business," said Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell. "We don't discriminate. We're a fabulous community and I think you see that over and over."
Tempe joined Phoenix, Tucson and Flagstaff by adopting an anti-discrimination ordinance that includes sexual orientation and gender identity.
The ordinance also includes military status.
"It protects people in Tempe as it relates to discrimination in housing, employment and bidding contracts with the city of Tempe," said Councilman Kolby Granville.
It also includes areas of public accommodation.
"So, if you come into a restaurant in Tempe and somebody says you're not welcome here, well, in fact, you are," Granville said.
Those who violate the ordinance face a $1,500 fine, if they aren't willing to learn from their mistake.
"There's a mediation process and a discussion process, because for us, the important thing is not to punish, but, to generate understanding," said Granville.
The nation's largest LGBT civil rights group, Lambda Legal, praised Tempe and said equality for all in America starts city by city.
"Frequently, local communities come together first and start to understand there's a problem with discrimination and that discrimination against groups of people is really terrible for the social fabric," said Jennifer Pizer, senior counsel for Lambda Legal.
Granville said he's looking forward to learning what the future holds, when it comes to equality in Arizona.
"What I would say to the other cities, the other 100-plus something cities in the state of Arizona, let's see who's No. 5," said Granville.
There are a few exemptions to Tempe's ordinance, including religious organizations.
It will go into effect in about 30 days.
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