Dear Members of the Scottsdale City Council,
As representatives from a wide array of Arizona businesses, including associations with thousands of member companies in a variety of industries critical to the economic sustainability of this city and state, we collectively urge you to pass a non-discrimination ordinance that protects all people, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
As business leaders, we are committed to improving Arizona’s image and reputation on the national and international stage. Doing so is essential to ensuring a thriving future for Scottsdale and the rest of our state. An ordinance that covers all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, would go a long way toward advancing these goals.
Scottsdale’s 2015 Strategic Economic Development Plan, which you adopted in February, prioritizes growing and attracting quality firms and jobs in targeted sectors such as technology, innovation, bioscience and hospitality. Scottsdale’s economic success relies heavily upon the community’s ability to “support efforts that will enable Scottsdale’s present and future employers to cultivate, retain and attract the talent they need,” according to the plan.
Fulfilling the priorities of your economic development plan requires the city to remain competitive. Right now, Scottsdale can do much better in outpacing competitors. One-third of U.S. states and more than 90 percent of Fortune 500 companies already prohibit discrimination against gay and transgender people. Indeed, more than 70 percent of millennials support non-discrimination laws that cover sexual orientation and gender identity. Many young people see these protections as a litmus test when deciding where to work, live and shop. It is imperative that Scottsdale maintains and expands its ability to attract millennial talent, which will account for 75 percent of the workforce by 2030. If leadership choses not to act, or is at odds with non-discrimination ultimately the city’s economic development plan will never be poised to reach it’s potential.
Moreover, tourism is Arizona’s largest export, generating $20.9 billion in direct spending—$57 million each day—in 2014. As tourism goes, so goes Scottsdale. Scottsdale can be more inviting to tourists, further fueling the city’s economic engine, if all people, including gay and transgender individuals, are protected from discrimination.
Finally, Arizona has long been a destination for those with an entrepreneurial spirit seeking opportunity. Arizona has a proud history of valuing liberty, freedom, and hard work. Non-discrimination laws advance that history by updating the law to reflect our values. Gay and transgender people are our friends, neighbors, family, coworkers, clients and customers. When it comes to being able to earn a living, having a place to live, or being served by a business or government office, they should be treated like anyone else and not be discriminated against.
We strongly urge you to pass a non-discrimination ordinance that includes sexual orientation and gender identity. In doing so, you will send a strong message that Scottsdale is open for business to everyone. Your legacy will pave a more prosperous path for all of Scottsdale and Arizona.