Arizona governor Katie Hobbs has taken a huge step in protecting the rights of the state’s LGBTQ+ community.
On 27 June, the Democrat official issued two executive orders banning conversion therapy and granting more healthcare rights to trans state employees.
“Today, I signed two Executive Orders restoring rights and protecting LGBTQ+ Arizonans,” she wrote on Twitter.
“I’m proud the State is leading by example on this issue, and we will continue working until Arizona is a place where every individual can participate equally in our economy and our workforce without fear of discrimination or exclusion.”
Under the first order, state agencies will be banned from using funds to promote or facilitate the archaic and harmful practice of conversion therapy.
The other piece of legislation grants trans state employees the right to receive gender-affirming care under their health plans – which has not been eligible for coverage since 2017.
Shortly after the news was announced, an array of LGBTQ+ organisations released statements praising governor Hobbs for introducing the two LGBTQ+ inclusive laws, including the ACLU of Arizona and the Human Rights Campaign.
“Governor Hobbs used her executive pen to take bold, and most importantly, life-saving action. Not only were trans state employees categorically denied gender-affirming healthcare, but they were also denied the opportunity to even demonstrate why such surgery is medically necessary,” said Christine Wee, senior staff attorney for ACLU of Arizona.
Today, I signed two Executive Orders restoring rights and protecting LGBTQ+ Arizonans. I’m proud the State is leading by example on this issue, and we will continue working until Arizona is a place where every individual can participate equally in our economy and our workforce… pic.twitter.com/q9CuemjV2F
— Governor Katie Hobbs (@GovernorHobbs) June 28, 2023
Human Rights Campaign Arizona State Director Bridget Sharpe echoed similar sentiments in her own statement.
“This is what it looks like to have a champion for equality in office. These executive orders are a crucial step in addressing discrimination against LGBTQ+ people, particularly children,” Bridget wrote.
“No matter who they are or who they love, all Arizonans deserve access to high-quality, best practice healthcare and to live their lives authentically.”
Governor Hobbs’ inclusive executive orders come a few weeks after she vetoed not one but two laws that targeted the rights of LGBTQ+ Arizonans.
Back in May, she vetoed SB 1001 from being enacted into law – which would have barred school officials and teachers from addressing trans and non-binary students by their preferred pronouns.
“As politicians across the country continue to pass harmful legislation directed at transgender youth, I have a clear message to the people of Arizona: I will veto every bill that aims to attack and harm children,” she wrote in her veto letter.
A few weeks later, Hobbs vetoed another hateful law – SB 1041 – which aimed to ban trans youth from using the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity.
“SB1040 is yet another discriminatory act against LGBTQ+ youth by the majority at the state legislature,” she exclaimed. “I will veto every bill that aims to attack and harm children.”