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Tempe Voters Approve Charter Change Banning LGBT Discrimination

Jim Burroway

August 27th, 2014

A number of cities in Arizona have anti-discrimination ordinances to protect LGB and sometimes T’s from discrimination in hiring, housing and public accomodations. But the only ways to ban discrimination in city hiring would be for the state legislature to do it (fat chance!) or for a city to amend its charter, a process that typically requires voter approval. During yesterday’s primary, Tempe voters were the first in the state to approve such a charter change. According to unofficial results, they did so overwhelmingly with 69% support.



August 28th, 2014 | LINK

I just had this image of some local nutjob, with backing from Liberty Counsel or ADF, threatening to sue to overturn the referendum.

I know — they would have no grounds. That’s never stopped them before.

August 28th, 2014 | LINK

If a city adopted anti-discrimination ordinances, why would city hiring practices fall outside their own jurisdiction?

Jim Burroway
August 28th, 2014 | LINK

That’s at the very heart of jurisdiction at the local level. Cities can set policies for their own actions, but they can’t pass laws forcing themselves to do something or to prevent themselves from doing something. If a city could, and then if it did want to break its own ordinance, all it would have to do is vote to rescind or change that ordinance. The only things that would truly bind a city’s actions are state and federal laws — and the city charter.

(It’s also why state legislatures aren’t subject to laws passed by state legislatures, and Congress isn’t bound by laws passed by Congress. Although it’s a little bit trickier there because of the separation of powers. Congress can pass a law requiring governmental agencies act in a certain way, mainly through its budgeting powers. In that case, the Congress passes the law, and the President signs and implements it. But again, because of separation of powers, there are limits to what the President can do enforce such a law on Congress.)

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