After a particularly heated debate, the Phoenix City Council voted Tuesday evening to expand its anti-discrimination laws to include LGBT residents in the country’s sixth most populous city.
The council took five hours to come to a 5-3 vote in favor of the measure, which will include protections for LGBT people in city contracts, housing, employment and public accommodations, such as restaurants and hotels.
Businesses and individuals that don’t comply could face criminal prosecution and a misdemeanor charge, punishable by a $2,500 fine.
“This was the right thing to do for our city,” said Mayor Greg Stanton, who fast-tracked the reforms. “With 165 other cities, including Tucson and Flagstaff, adopting similar ordinances, some more than a decade ago, Phoenix had some catching up to do. We as a city value all our citizens, and consider diversity as our strength.”
Stanton added, “it’s good for business, it’s good for our economy, and it’s the right thing to do for Phoenix.”