LGBT rights in Arizona

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LGBT rights in Arizona
Arizona (US)
Same-sex sexual activity legal? Legal since 2001
Gender identity/expression Altering sex on birth certificate requires SRS
Discrimination protections Sexual orientation protections in state employment
Family rights
Recognition of
State employees only
Arizona Proposition 102 limits marriage to man/woman
Adoption No restrictions

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in the U.S. state of Arizona face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Same-sex sexual activity is legal in Arizona, but same-sex couples and families headed by same-sex couples are not eligible for the same protections available to opposite-sex married couples.

Laws against homosexuality[edit]

The 2001 Arizona Equity Act repealed the state's sodomy laws.[1]

Recognition of same-sex relationships[edit]

Map of Arizona cities and counties that offer civil unions or domestic partner benefits in particular cities.
  City offers unions granting rights similar to marriage
  City offers legislation granting domestic partnership
  County-wide partner benefits through domestic partnership
  State grants benefits to state employees
  No specific recognition of same-sex marriages or unions in state law

Arizona has a statute that defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman. In 2006, voters defeated a ballot proposition to add a similar prohibition to the state constitution, the first time the voters of a U.S. state defeated such a proposal. A similar ballot proposition passed in November 2008.

The state recognizes no other form of legal relationship of same-sex couples and denies recognition to same-sex relationships established in other jurisdictions.

Arizona has provided benefits to same-sex partners of state employees since 2008.[2] A 2009 statute made domestic partners of state employees ineligible for health benefits, but a group of state employees in same-sex relationships persuaded a federal District Court to issue an injunction preventing the law from taking effect. The statute and that injunction remain the subject of an ongoing lawsuit, Diaz v. Brewer.[3]

Adoption and parenting[edit]

Arizona permits adoption by individuals. There are no explicit prohibitions on adoption by same-sex couples or on second-parent adoptions.[4] However, state law requires adoption agencies to "give primary consideration to adoptive placement with a married man and woman". Agencies may place a child with a legally single person if it is in the child's best interest or if there is not a married couple available.[5]

Discrimination protection[edit]

Map of Arizona cities that have sexual orientation and/or gender identity anti–employment discrimination ordinances
  Sexual orientation and gender identity with anti–employment discrimination ordinance
  Sexual orientation and gender identity solely in public employment
  Sexual orientation in public employment

Since an executive order issued by Janet Napolitano in 2003, Arizona has prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in public employment.[6]

Discrimination in employment on the basis of both sexual orientation and gender identity is prohibited by Flagstaff,[7] Phoenix,[8] Scottsdale,[9] Tucson[10] and Tempe.[11]

Hate crime[edit]

Arizona includes sexual orientation as a protected group covered by its hate crimes law. Gender identity is not included.[12]

Gender reassignment[edit]

Arizona will issue new birth certificates to post-operative transsexuals.[13]


  1. ^ Lee Walzer, Gay Rights on Trial: A Reference Handbook (2002), 82
  2. ^ National Conference of State Legislatures: "States offering benefits for same-sex partners of state employees", accessed April 16, 2011
  3. ^ MetroWeekly: Chris Geidner, "Ninth Circuit Keeps Arizona Law Ending Same-Sex Partner Health Benefits on Hold," September 6, 2011, accessed July 8, 2012
  4. ^ Human Resources Campaign: Arizona Adoption Law, December 7, 2009, accessed April 10, 2011
  5. ^ "Brewer signs Arizona bill on adoption preference". Retrieved 2013-11-02. 
  6. ^ "Executive order No. 2003-22: confirming equal employment opportunities". Arizona Executive Orders. Arizona Memory Project. Retrieved March 1, 2014. 
  7. ^ "An ordinance of the city council of the City of Flagstaff, Arizona, amending Flagstaff City Code Title 14, Human Relations, by adding Chapter 2, Civil Rights". City of Flagstaff. Retrieved May 25, 2013. 
  8. ^ Gardiner, Dustin (February 26, 2013). "". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved February 26, 2013. 
  9. ^ "City Council Report". City of Scottsdale. November 20, 2007. Retrieved March 22, 2012. 
  10. ^ "Cities and Counties with Non-Discrimination Ordinances that Include Gender Identity". Human Rights Campaign. Retrieved May 25, 2013. 
  11. ^ Smith, Dylan (February 28, 2014). "Tempe joins Az cities barring discrimination against gays". Tucson Sentinel. Retrieved March 1, 2014. 
  12. ^ Human Resources Campaign: Arizona Hate Crimes Law, October 3, 2008, accessed April 10, 2011
  13. ^ Human Resources Campaign: Arizona Birth Certificate Law: Gender Identity Issues, March 27, 2007, accessed April 10, 2011