Hughey: Scottsdale can’t have it both ways and get NCAA events

Two weeks ago, city of Scottsdale officials came out once again to say they would not adopt a non-discrimination ordinance that was inclusive of gay and transgender people. But this week they are actively trying to get business where gay and transgender inclusiveness is required.

Angela Hughey

Angela Hughey

Scottsdale can’t have it both ways.

Tonight, Scottsdale will consider approving a contract for a one-year agreement with the Phoenix Final Four Local Organizing Committee, to sponsor the next NCAA Men’s Final Four Championship basketball tournament.

If approved, The PLOC will work with the Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau to encourage sponsors, alumni and other prominent groups to use Scottsdale hotels and resorts for lodging, entertainment and other activities connected with the event.

However, on the heels of the NCAA’s decision to relocate 2017 events from North Carolina due to their anti-gay laws; and their new requirement of host and event sites to demonstrate how they will provide an “environment that is safe, healthy and free of discrimination, plus safeguards the dignity of everyone involved in the event,” —  we’re not so sure Scottsdale qualifies given the current state of their non-discrimination laws, which don’t include gay or transgender people.

If Scottsdale wants to benefit from an organization that puts a premium on inclusion, they need to do more than just say they are inclusive — they need to actually be inclusive. Actions speak louder than words.  That’s why we are hopeful the NCAA’s decision will encourage states and municipalities without equal protections to make the necessary changes to be inclusive of all people, including gay and transgender people.

And that it will reward inclusive states and municipalities like Phoenix, Tempe, Tucson, Flagstaff, and Sedona who are inclusive of all people and are already doing the right thing.

In Arizona, tourism is one of our greatest economic drivers, bringing hundreds of millions of dollars into our economy each year, making it vital that we are welcoming and open for business to everyone. However, today in Arizona (with the exception of the five municipalities previously mentioned), you can still be fired, denied housing, and refused service simply for who you are or whom you love.

As organizations and businesses including the NCAA, NFL, and NBA seek out inclusive locations, Scottsdale and Arizona must work to ensure that equal protections for all people becomes a reality.  It’s not only the right thing to do, but it’s also good for the business of Arizona.

Editor’s note: Ms. Hughey is president and co-founder of ONE Community

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