HRC released the following statement following news that anti-LGBTQ Rep. Russell “Rusty” Bowers will serve as Arizona’s Speaker of the House.
“Rep. Bowers has spent his career attacking the LGBTQ community, proving that he will not serve all Arizonans as Speaker of the House,” said HRC Arizona State Director Justin Unga. “Bowers believes that businesses should have a license to discriminate against LGBTQ people, that LGBTQ people should not be protected from discrimination under state law, and that the abusive and debunked practice of so-called ‘conversion therapy,’ — a form of child abuse — should be allowed to continue in Arizona. He is unfit to set the agenda for Arizona’s State House and unfit to serve the people of Arizona.”
In 1992, during his first term as a state legislator, Bowers authored a proposed state amendment to prohibit municipalities from passing non-discrimination ordinances that protect LGBTQ people. Bowers worked to undermine a bill that would protect state employees, and opposed the repeal of the state’s law banning consensual same-sex relationships.
During the 2018 election cycle, HRC prioritized investments and organizing in Arizona for more than a year, and had 18 staff on the ground in the state as part of the largest grassroots expansion in the organization’s 38-year history. Working with scores of partner organizations, HRC also led field organizing efforts around the state to mobilize voters in support of HRC-backed, pro-equality champions who will fight for LGBTQ rights, and for the rights and welfare of all Arizonans — including Kyrsten Sinema, Ann Kirkpatrick, Greg Stanton and Tom O’Halleran.
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