Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) said Tuesday that it could be time for the state to adopt laws that ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation — although she’s not sure that such discrimination is a real problem in the state.
“I do not believe in discrimination,” she told Capitol Media Services. “We are in the United States of America and we have great privilege that is afforded to everyone.”
As BuzzFeed notes, current state law prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, or disability in areas such as housing, employment, public accommodations and voting.
Still, while she’s against discrimination, she’s also not sure that it really is an issue for in this day and age and therefore might not need legislation.
“That’s something we don’t see a lot of anymore, because of people’s changing patterns of discrimination,” she said.
Discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals does remain a very real problem though.
One in five respondents who identified as LGBT said they had been treated unfairly by an employer when asked by the Pew Research Center in 2013. Brewer did not mention transgender individuals in her comments.
Brewer told Capitol Media Services that if there is a problem with LGBT discrimination, it should be “debated in the Legislature.”
“Testimony needs to be presented,” she said “Let the representatives of the people who have been elected by the populace of the state of Arizona determine and get it up to the governor.”
She didn’t commit to signing any specific legislation, saying, “I don’t know what would be in that bill or how they would write it. But I certainly would evaluate it and do what I thought was the right thing to do for the state.”
Nondiscrimination ordinances vary from state-to-state. Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia protect individuals from employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, according to the Human Rights Campaign. Eighteen states and the District of Columbia have statutes that ban discrimination based on gender identity in that area.
Eighteen states and the District of Columbia also bar discrimination in housing for LGBT individuals. Three states ban housing discrimination solely on the basis of sexual orientation.
This is not the first time that Brewer has entered a contentious debate about the rights of LGBT people. Earlier this year, she vetoed a bill that would have allowed business owners to deny service to LGBT customers on the basis of a sincere religious conviction. At the time, she said that she was not aware of a single case in which a business owner’s right to freely exercise their religion had been infringed upon.