Opinion: Time for Scottsdale to take stand against anti-gay discrimination

Scottsdale has long enjoyed a mixed reputation.

On the one hand, it boasts upscale housing and great shopping, priding itself on being a tourist destination, and a “most livable” city.  On the other hand, there is sometimes a reluctance to join with other Valley communities, even to do the right thing, based on a “we don’t have to, because we’re Scottsdale” attitude.

The assumption, usually unspoken, is that somehow Scottsdale is better than its neighbors, and so doesn’t have to make an effort.

Scottsdale’s neighbors, and indeed much of America and the rest of the world, have demonstrated that being anti-gay makes no sense, and is patently unfair.  In fact, most major corporations and progressive communities, have actually marketed themselves as inclusive and welcoming, code words for not allowing anti gay discrimination.

Phoenix, Tempe, Tucson, and Flagstaff have even passed anti-gay discrimination ordinances.  So where does this leave upscale Scottsdale, with all of its fancy shops, gourmet restaurants, and thriving downtown entertainment district?

You would think Mayor Jim Lane and the Scottsdale City Council would be first in line to be welcoming and inclusive, making clear that Scottsdale does not accept anti-gay discrimination.

Strangely, just the opposite has occurred.

Backed by council members Suzanne Klapp, Kathy Littlefield, Guy Phillips and David Smith, Mayor Jim Lane has been busy digging a medieval moat around Scottsdale, insisting that just because other communities are marketing themselves as welcoming and inclusive, doesn’t mean that Scottsdale has to join in, and pass an anti-discrimination ordinance.

To make matters even more strange, Mayor Lane and company offer nonsensical justifications for their “not us” mentality, such as somehow being welcoming and inclusive is bad for business (just the opposite is true!), or that “religious liberty” means that somehow it is OK to publicly discriminate against anyone who happens to be gay (who actually preaches that anymore?).

So Jim Lane and his merry band are digging a “not us” moat around Scottsdale, when they should be building bridges.  Instead of passing an anti-gay discrimination ordinance, and enhancing the Scottsdale brand, Mr. Lane and company are doing the opposite.

Some less-than-informed council members have even been heard to say that there is no anti-gay discrimination in Scottsdale.  If you think that  sounds like something out of Alice in Wonderland, you would be right!  Because the only real reason the ordinance hasn’t passed so far, is that an avalanche of negative emails frightened Mayor Lane and company.

Doesn’t that prove there is a need to pass an ordinance, and prove that just maybe, not everyone in Scottsdale is welcoming and inclusive?

It’s time for Scottsdale do the right thing, and pass an anti-gay discrimination ordinance.  It’s time for Jim Lane and company to stop digging moats and start building bridges, and drop the “we don’t have to, because we’re Scottsdale” attitude!

Editor’s note: Mr. Greco is a resident of Scottsdale. To respond or participate in this discussion, send your signed letters to the editor at scottsdalenews@newszap.com.

 

Mr. Greco is a Scottsdale resident.

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