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Religious right effort to repeal Mesa nondiscrimination ordinance can head to the ballot

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A recently passed nondiscrimination ordinance may be repealed in Mesa, Arizona after religious right opponents formed a PAC to challenge the local law at the ballot box. The group gathered enough signatures to send the ordinance to voters for approval.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, also known as the Mormon church, approves of the LGBTQ rights ordinance and supporters say they still have some tricks up their sleeves to kneecap the attempt to repeal it.

Related: Republican candidate brags about pulling her daughter out of college for supporting LGBTQ rights

Arizona Republicans have spent the past few months attempting to find evidence of voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election without success. Reaching ever more ludicrous attempts, they have now hired an outside firm to find evidence of bamboo in ballots as proof that “Asia” interfered to throw the election to President Joe Biden.

Individuals and groups now have five days to submit challenges to the signatures gathered by the political committee United for Mesa. Challenges are expected. If they can successfully get enough signatures disqualified, the measure would not proceed to the ballot and opponents would need to start over.

The local city council passed the measure to expand civil rights protections to LGBTQ residents in march and opponents launched their campaign within days.

“LGBTQ rights and religious freedom do not have to be in conflict. Simply put, protecting people from discrimination is about treating others as we want to be treated,” Elder Dale Willis, a regional leader of the LDS Church, said in a prepared statement. “We can come together to protect all people and unify our community on what has for too long been a divisive issue.”

If the measure actually makes it to the ballot, it wouldn’t get a vote until November 2022. With the rate that acceptance of LGBTQ rights is increasing and support for the religious right’s extremist takes on nondiscrimination laws plummets, the repeal is hardly guaranteed success then either.

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