News (USA)

Super Bowl 2015 host city signs on to LGBT-supportive ‘Unity Pledge’

GLENDALE, Ariz. — The city of Glendale, Ariz. — home to the Arizona Cardinals and host city of Super Bowl XLIX on Feb. 1, 2015 — has signed on to a pledge reinforcing its support of the LGBT community.

University of Phoenix stadium in Glendale, Ariz., is home to the Arizona Cardinals and host of the 2015 Super Bowl.
University of Phoenix stadium in Glendale, Ariz., is home to the Arizona Cardinals and host of the 2015 Super Bowl. Arizona Cardinals

The city council, with little discussion, unanimously approved in a 7-0 vote a Unity Pledge created by the human rights group One Community, reports The Arizona Republic.

The non-binding pledge asks Arizona businesses and government entities to support equal treatment in housing, employment and hospitality for LGBT people.

Approximately 1,100 businesses statewide have signed the “Unity Pledge.”

Glendale Councilman Gary Sherwood, who pushed for city to sign the pledge, says he wants the city to go further with an anti-discrimination ordinance before the Super Bowl.

But an ordinance is likely to draw opposition.

Religious groups have argued that business owners, to protect their religious freedoms, should have the right to refuse service to gay customers.

Earlier this year, some feared Glendale might lose the 2015 Super Bowl after the Arizona Legislature passed Senate Bill 1062. That bill, which would have allowed business owners to refuse service to people based on religious beliefs, was ultimately vetoed by Gov. Jan Brewer after a backlash from business and civil-rights leaders.

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Despite the veto, however, Arizona is among the states where it’s still legal to fire someone based on their sexual orientation.

Councilman Sam Chavira said that with all the big sporting events Glendale hosts, the city needs to put it in writing and adopt an anti-discrimination ordinance. Glendale is also home to the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes.

LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination ordinances have already been adopted in Tucson (sexual orientation, 1977; gender identity, 1999), Phoenix and Flagstaff (2013) and Tempe (2014, the day after Brewer vetoed SB 1062). Scottsdale has also signed the “Unity Pledge.”

The west Phoenix suburb is Arizona’s fourth largest city.

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