City of Flagstaff Considering Civil Rights Ordinance

By Elisha Dorfsmith

The Flagstaff City Council will be discussing a possible Civil Rights Ordinance at their July 12, 2011 work session. For those interested in attending, the meeting starts at 5:30 pm at Flagstaff City Hall.

Is a broad Civil Rights Ordinance really necessary for Flagstaff or is the council simply chasing another distraction? Putting aside my personal views on where the proper role of government should be in these situations, I think it’s important to note that there are many state and federal laws already on the books that protect people from discrimination. Do we really need more laws?

One disturbing aspect about this potential ordinance is the fact that there has been talk of building in exemptions for a select few.  For example, churches will most likely be allowed to discriminate but the average business owner will not be able to…even if it directly conflicts with their religion or purpose of business.

If this ordinance does advance, I hope the City will NOT exempt churches. Watching those fireworks would be a very interesting show and would cause the focus to turn to whose liberty is being protected and whose liberty is being taken away. Everyone needs to be outraged by this and giving churches a pass will pacify a usually vocal segment of the community. All sides should be involved in this process.

Should a Buddhist business be forced to hire Christians? Should a Christian bookstore be forced to hire someone whose complicated gender identification conflicts with the message of the products sold? Should a far left progressive organization be forced to hire Republicans?

Let’s take a look at what may be covered by the Civil Rights Ordinance:

Personal appearance. (Imagine the guy below working at a local daycare. Lets say he’s awesome and passes the background check and everything. He will still scare some parents away and the business may be forced out of business. Should it be illegal for a business to expect their employees to look or dress a certain way?)

Political Affiliation.

Gender Identification.

Sexual Identification.

Education. (Seriously? Where is this going? If I need an educated employee will I be forced to hire a high school dropout instead?)

Personality conflicts. (Talk about a can of worms…)

Short term disability.

Needless to say, there are lots of unanswered questions with this whole ordinance. I see red flags all over the place. Where it could end up is anybody’s guess. The whole community needs to be active in these discussions in order to make sure certain special interest groups don’t dominate the policy. Civil rights are important but is it progress when we give more rights to some while trampling the rights of others?

  1. July 11, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    What’s strange about this whole thing is that it originated as a basic gay civil rights ordinance and then it suddenly evolved into this extremely broad far reaching thing. How did this go from gay rights to personal appearance to political affiliation to education?

    The Daily Sun is still calling it a “Gay Civil Rights Ordinance”

  2. carl
    July 12, 2011 at 10:42 am

    but you will feel so good about it

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