Arizona Republicans have voiced plans to sue newly elected Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs after she signed an executive order protecting LGBTQ+ state employees from discrimination.
Vitriol over the order (and others) is coming from the far-right Arizona Freedom Caucus. The Caucus Chairman, Republican state Rep. Jake Hoffman – a 2020 election denier – recently told reporters the group will work to obstruct Hobbs “in every step of the process” if she “continues to utilize executive orders.”
“If Katie Hobbs wants to legislate, she needs to get her butt out of the Governor’s Office and run for the legislature and come back and join us and do that job,” he said, according to the Arizona Mirror.
Hoffman called Hobbs’ executive orders “illegal” and said she was using them to advance her “radical woke agenda.” He did not, however, provide details about the timeline of the Freedom Caucus’s lawsuit or who would file it.
On her first day in office, Hobbs signed an executive order extending employment protections to state employees and contractors who are LGBTQ+.
As the Human Rights Campaign reports, the executive order directs the state’s Department of Administration to update hiring, promotion, and compensation policies for all state agencies to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and include provisions in all new state contracts to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
KAWC notes that sexual orientation is already covered under a 2003 executive order issued by former Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano (D). But as press aide Murphy Herbert explained, “The order from 2003 arguably allowed the state to consider sexual orientation in hiring so long as it wasn’t the only reason for a hiring decision.”
Hobbs’s executive order, Herbert said, “clarifies that discrimination based on sexual orientation is prohibited in all state hiring decisions.”
“Gov. Hobbs has been all over the state and she’s been hearing from communities who say that they want a state that reflects the values and a state where they feel seen and safe,” Herbert told KAWC. “This executive order is one step she’s taking to ensure that everyone in Arizona knows that she is the governor for everyone and that these communities can and will be safe.”