Maricopa County sheriff signs equality pledge

Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone has joined police and fire chiefs from Phoenix, Tempe and Tucson in signing a pledge supporting equal treatment for all Arizonans, including gay and transgender people, in employment, housing and businesses open to the public.

Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone, right, speaks last summer at the open house for the Queen Creek Law Enforcement and Community Chambers Building. (File photo)

The law enforcement officials are among more 2,600 businesses and organizations including the Arizona Diamondbacks, Professional Firefighters of Arizona, PetSmart, Intel, Go Daddy, PayPal, Fry’s Food Stores and others “in support of a fully inclusive Arizona,” according to a release from ONE Community.

“Fair and impartial policing is an easily understandable philosophy. Everyone is equal under the law. As proud as I am about signing this initiative, I look forward to the day when initiatives such as these are no longer necessary because we recognize the value in total equality,” the sheriff stated in a release about the UNITY Pledge.

Five Arizona municipalities have ordinances that ban gay and transgender discrimination along with the characteristics protected under state law such as age, gender, religion, ethnicity and disability. There are no statewide laws protecting LGBTQ individuals from being fired based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, or discriminated against in housing and businesses open to the public, the release stated.

The Movement Advancement Projects found more than 200 cities and counties and 19 states have adopted fully inclusive non-discrimination protections.

“It is with great pride that we announce the signing of the UNITY Pledge by the police and fire chiefs of Phoenix, Tempe, Tucson and the Maricopa County sheriff,” Angela Hughey, president and co-founder of ONE Community and ONE Community Foundation, stated. “They understand that there is no room for discrimination when it comes to public safety and that inclusive policies strengthen, not threaten, public safety.”

The Queen Creek Independent is mailed each month to 24,000 homes.

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