The Glendale City Council unanimously approved a nondiscrimination ordinance prohibiting discrimination in employment, housing and places of public accommodation based on race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, disability, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, veteran status, marital status, genetic information or familial status. 

This will ensure that the diverse population in Glendale has equal access to and equal treatment regarding what they buy, services they need, the jobs they hold and where they live.

“This is not a new idea or a new topic for this city council,” said Mayor Jerry Weiers. 

“Since I became mayor, this council has made concerted efforts to study and take measured steps to address discrimination in all its forms.”

Councilmember Jamie Aldama said the issue has been a priority. 

“The passage of this ordinance is about equal protections and treating all people with respect and kindness, which is simply the right thing to do,” Aldama said. 

“This ordinance represents Glendale’s commitment to being a city that supports and values the diversity and inclusiveness that our community deserves. It ensures that everyone in our city has an equal opportunity to contribute and be successful.”

The city council began studying and discussing the topic of enhancing equity and inclusiveness starting in 2014. Since then, actions include:

• Spending more than a dozen city council workshops and voting meetings discussing antidiscrimination.

• Signing the One Community Unity Pledge (2014).

• Implementing internal nondiscrimination policies for its employees, contractors and vendors (2015).

• Hiring a professional facilitator to hold four community conversations. This included one meeting for the business community and three meetings for citizens to gauge how they felt about an antidiscrimination ordinance.

• Forming the human relations commission to recommend ways to encourage mutual respect and understanding among all people, to discourage prejudice and discrimination, support cultural awareness and unity of the community in all its diverse forms.

• Glendale has also designated an LGBTQ liaison to the city manager. This liaison serves as a resource for the public to elevate the voice of the LGBTQ community and to ensure that the concerns of the community are being heard by executive management.

Glendale is the ninth Arizona city to have adopted a nondiscrimination ordinance. Those include Flagstaff, Mesa, Phoenix, Tempe, Tucson, Scottsdale, Sedona and Winslow.

The ordinance does not apply to religious corporations and organizations, public schools, religious schools and charter schools. It does not apply to single-sex designated areas of a place of public accommodation or single-sex sports, recreational leagues and programs.

In addition, the ordinance does not displace or repeal any criminal laws. It does apply to businesses with five or more employees, places of public accommodation, employers and the workplace, city employees and facilities, and city contractors and vendors.

“A little over a month ago, the Glendale Chamber Board of Directors formed a diversity task force to champion the adoption of a LGBTQ inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance in the city of Glendale that would prohibit discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations,” said Kate Kochenderfer, senior director of supply chain, transportation and flight services for Salt River Project. She also serves as Glendale Chamber of Commerce board chair.

“Our goal was to bring together diverse stakeholders across all industries to discuss the benefits of a nondiscrimination ordinance like what the cities of Mesa, Scottsdale and Phoenix have adopted, and I’m proud we have achieved that goal.”

Glendale Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Robert Heidt was pleased to witness the unanimous vote. 

“My hope is their swift action will be the catalyst to move the entire West Valley along in adopting similar ordinances for their cities,” Heidt said.

“Glendale is better today and, in the near future, I hope the entire West Valley is welcoming of all people ensuring equality.”