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Updated Aug 27, 2014 - 2:14 pm

Tempe votes to add protections for LGBT, veteran communities

PHOENIX -- Tempe voters made a landmark decision Tuesday for both the city's veteran and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities.

Tempe became the first city in Arizona to include sexual orientation as a protected class from workplace discrimination in its charter.

"We're the city on the hill in some ways," Tempe City Councilman Kolby Granville said. "We're the city that I think others are going to look to, not just in Arizona, but in the rest of the United States."

When Proposition 475 passed Tuesday, the city of Tempe made a historic change to its charter, according to Granville.

"[That would] change the constitution to include LGBT to the usual list of things you can't discriminate against, as it relates to employees," Granville said.

The proposition also added veteran status to the list of protected classes. Granville said the amendment has been a longtime coming for many gay, lesbian and transgender residents of Tempe.

"I think we're the right city for it, and I think this is the right time for it," he said.

"I think we're the right city for it, and I think this is the right time for it," he said.

The Human Rights Campaign, a nationwide nonprofit organization, helped spread the word about the proposition for several months. The organization's Jeremy Pittman said believed Proposition 475 would pass without a hitch.

"The vast majority of people in Arizona are opposed to arbitrary workplace discrimination and its time now for the laws to catch up to the people's attitudes," Pittman said.

Prior to Tuesday, sexual orientation was a protected class under the city code, but amending Tempe's charter made those protections permanent.

"It really codifies in an absolutely crystal clear way that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and veteran status will not be tolerated," Pittman said.

Granville said it would be nearly impossible to amend the changes in the future.

"The city of Tempe and the people of Tempe would have to undo the charter amendment, and I have an abundance of faith in the goodwill of the people of Tempe," Granville said.

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About the Author


Cooper Rummell is a Southern California native. He moved to Arizona in 2012 to pursue a bachelor's degree in journalism at ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. Since May 2013, Cooper has worked as a desk anchor and reporter at KTAR. He has a passion for investigative political reporting and covering the local crime beat.

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