Arizona’s economy is booming and is expected to grow even more!

Headline after headline, report after report demonstrate that Arizona’s economy is strong and growing.

So what?

Arizona Does Not Need a “SOGI”

Proponents of statewide nondiscrimination laws that add sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) to the list of protected classes contend that these laws are needed to make Arizona economically competitive.

Arizona’s booming economy proves otherwise.

This past week, “One Community,” which describes itself as “Your trusted Arizona Directory & Community of Businesses, Organizations & Professionals who support the LGBTQ community, diversity, inclusion & equality,” argued before the Senate Higher Education and Workforce committee of the Arizona legislature that Arizona’s economy needs a SOGI. Throughout the fifteen-minute presentation, the president of One Community and supporting businesses argued over and over again that Arizona’s economy needs a SOGI:

  • It would be a “workforce driver” and lead to “economic development”
  • It is a “very important issue that impacts the future of our workforce”
  • It would lead to a “competitive Arizona”
  • Lacking a SOGI puts Arizona at a “competitive disadvantage”

Their repeated economic argument might be a good talking point, but the facts are not on their side.

Arizona’s strong economy proves that we do not need a SOGI. Arizona is not unique in this. Of the “top ten states for business” according the 2018 Forbes rankings, six of them do not have SOGI laws. Also, according to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), of the top ten states with best economic outlooks in 2018, only one of them had a statewide SOGI.

Instead of being necessary for a strong economy, SOGI laws bring with them a host of problems. They undermine constitutionally guaranteed freedoms of speech and religion, threaten women’s equality and privacy, and harm small businesses.

The Problem with SOGI Laws

Nondiscrimination laws are meant to be a shield to protect people from unjust discrimination. However, SOGI laws are a solution in search of a problem and instead of shielding people they are being used as a sword against individuals and organizations with a historic understanding of marriage and gender.

Creative professionals, adoption and foster care providers, homeless women’s shelters, religious schools, and even churches have all been victims of government coercion under these SOGI laws.

Three SOGI bills (SB 1249, HB 2546, and SB 1389) have been introduced so far in the Arizona legislature this session. For more information on these bills and the Top Five Reasons to oppose them read our fact sheet, here.

Center for Arizona Policy has been working diligently down at the Capitol to oppose these laws because all people should be free to peacefully live and work according to their core belief without fear of unjust government punishment.

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