PHOENIX — The Phoenix city council is expected to vote this month on whether to expand the city’s anti-discrimination ordinance to prohibit discrimination against its LGBT residents.
Under the proposal, the ordinance would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in the areas of housing, employment and public accommodations, such as restaurants and hotels, reported the Arizona Republic.
The ordinance currently prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, national origin, age and marital status.
LGBT advocates are optimistic that public opinion has shifted enough over the past two decades that the City Council will support adding those protections for LGBT citizens. They point to the 166 cities and counties across the country that already have adopted similar laws.
Mayor Greg Stanton has fast-tracked reforms to outlaw discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. Currently, city ordinance only prohibits workplace discrimination against gays and lesbians who work for the city, or at companies that have city contracts and at least 35 employees.
Under the proposal, exemptions would remain for religious organizations, small private landlords, senior housing, private clubs and others.
If council members approve changes to the ordinance, businesses and individuals that don’t comply could be criminally prosecuted and face a misdemeanor charge, punishable by a $2,500 fine.
The council is expected to vote on the proposal Feb. 26.