No Sporting Chance: LGBTQ Inequality Under Gov. Ducey

For many Arizonans, Gov. Doug Ducey’s State of the State address on January 11 suggested that with the new year, we would be seeing a new, more compassionate course of action from the state’s executive branch. His address before a joint legislative session had the boilerplate promises of a conservative stump speech, including deregulation and lower taxes, but he also promised funding for a backlog of untested rape kits and improved access to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. It was hardly a 180-degree turn, but it was a gesture of even-handedness.


If Arizona’s governor won’t fight for LGBTQ rights, it’s time for citizens to put pressure on their legislators.


Hopes, though, were quickly dashed. Two weeks later, Gov. Ducey gave dismissive responses to the media about Arizona’s legal protections for members of the LGBTQ community. Questions were prompted by Ducey’s comments at a kickoff event for college basketball’s NCAA Men’s Final Four tournament, which Glendale will host in April. Last year, the NCAA withdrew events from North Carolina in response the state’s notorious “bathroom bill,” which required transgender people at government facilities to use bathrooms that correspond to their sex ascribed at birth, not the sex with which they identify. The law, House Bill 2, also blocked cities and other jurisdictions from passing anti-discrimination laws that exceed the protections offered by the state.

While Arizona has never passed a law modeled quite like North Carolina’s House Bill 2, the state has had its own controversial bills that were hostile to LGBTQ rights. In 2013, the Arizona Legislature considered a bathroom bill of its own — one that ultimately didn’t pass — which would have granted businesses the power to deny bathroom access to people based on their gender identity or expression. In 2014, Gov. Jan Brewer responded to pressure and vetoed a bill that would have allowed businesses to discriminate against LGBTQ customers, as long as they claimed their actions were motivated by religious beliefs. The Human Rights Campaign gives Arizona a mixed review on its scorecard, noting support for same-sex marriage licenses and gender changes on government-issued identification, but not for transgender health care and other important policy matters. In fact, a bill currently under consideration, House Bill 2294, would remove coverage for gender-affirming medical procedures from AHCCCS, Arizona’s Medicaid program. Continue reading

Meet Our Candidates: Rebecca Rios for State Representative, LD 27

The Arizona primary election will be held on August 26, 2014, but early voting starts today! Reproductive health care access has been under attack, both nationally and statewide, but Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona has endorsed candidates who have shown strong commitment to reproductive justice. To acquaint you with our endorsed candidates, we are running a series called “Meet Our Candidates.”  Make your voice heard in 2014!

photoA fourth generation Arizonan, Rebecca Rios lives in South Phoenix with her husband and three children. Earning both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work from Arizona State University, she used her social services experience to help set her priorities when she served in the Arizona House of Representatives from 1995 to 2001 and in the Arizona State Senate from 2005 to 2011. In addition to Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona, Ms. Rios’ endorsements include organizations such as the Arizona Women’s Political Caucus, Emily’s List, Stonewall Democrats, Arizona Nurses Association, and Equality Arizona.

In 2014, Ms. Rios seeks to represent Legislative District 27, an area that includes portions of southern Phoenix, including Laveen and South Mountain.

She was kind enough to take the time for an interview on July 21, 2014.


The warrantless inspection bill “was a legislative ‘solution’ in search of a problem that did not exist.”


What kind of beneficial legislation would you like to see introduced, and why do you think it’s important to fight for it?

Arizona needs to address public school financing in Arizona so that we are adequately supporting public education, teachers, and providing students the resources necessary to succeed.

Why do you think it’s important that people make their own health care decisions?

The ability for women to make health care decisions without government intrusion is a personal freedom that must be protected at all costs. Continue reading