In a significant move towards protecting LGBTQ+ individuals, Governor Katie Hobbs of Arizona has recently passed two laws. These measures serve to safeguard the community, with a specific focus on trans healthcare and the prohibition of conversion therapy.
Governor Hobbs signed the executive orders on Tuesday, 27 June, exemplifying her commitment to the LGBTQ+ cause. The first order forbids state agencies from endorsing or financially supporting conversion therapy—a harmful practice. The second order permits state employee health insurance plans to cover gender-affirming surgery, a procedure that was previously prohibited under a 2017 policy.
As the United States witnesses a surge in anti-LGBTQ+ bills seeking to limit gender-affirming care, these developments in Arizona have been warmly received by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). The HRC commended Governor Hobbs, hailing her as a “champion for equality.”
Taking to Twitter, Governor Hobbs expressed her pride in signing the executive orders. She proclaimed her determination to establish Arizona as a state where every individual can partake fully in the economy and workforce, free from discrimination and exclusion.
Bridget Sharpe, the Arizona state director of HRC, praised the governor’s actions as a crucial step in combatting discrimination against LGBTQ+ people, particularly minors. Sharpe emphasized that all Arizonans, regardless of their identities or whom they love, deserve access to high-quality healthcare and the freedom to live authentically. The HRC extended its gratitude to Governor Hobbs for her unwavering support of the LGBTQ+ community.
Governor Hobbs has been widely commended for her ongoing efforts to protect LGBTQ+ rights in Arizona. She wasted no time in extending employment protections to LGBTQ+ state employees by signing an executive order on her first day in office in January 2023. Furthermore, she recently vetoed a bill aimed at prohibiting trans students from using gender-appropriate restrooms in schools. Governor Hobbs firmly stated that she would veto any legislation that targeted and harmed children.
The HRC estimates that more than 560 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been introduced across the United States since the start of 2023. However, the passage of these laws in Arizona serves as a beacon of hope amidst these challenges, demonstrating a commitment to inclusivity and equal rights.