PRESS RELEASES / November 30, 2018

New Arizona Republican House Speaker Has History of Attacking LGBTQ People and Supports Conversion Therapy

An article published on the website ThinkProgress details how the new Republican House Speaker has a well-documented history of attacking the rights of LGBTQ people, and even supports the archaic and damaging practice of conversion therapy. House Speaker-Elect Rusty Bowers has opposed numerous policies that would give equal protection under the law to LGBTQ people, including opposing a policy that would protect people in same-sex relationships from domestic violence. As recently as this year Bowers completed a questionnaire for the extremist and anti-LGBTQ Center for Arizona Policy, where he says he opposes adding sexual orientation and gender identity to Arizona’s existing nondiscrimination law.  He also vowed to support conversion therapy, a practice that has been banned in other states.

“The Republican party in Arizona continues to show how backwards and in the past they are. The new Republican House Speaker seems to still be living in decade when barbaric things like conversion therapy were acceptable. We’d like to remind Mr. Bowers that it’s 2018 in America, and LGBTQ people deserve love, protection, safety and the freedom to live life as they choose. If Speaker Bowers thinks he can pass anti-LGBTQ laws in the 2019 Legislative Session, then he can rest assured we’ll fight it every step of the way,” said Josselyn Berry, Co-Director of ProgressNow Arizona.

More anti-LGBTQ policies Rusty Bowers has supported in the past:
  • In 1994, angry that Phoenix passed a 1992 ordinance prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation for city employees and large city contractors, Bowers authored a proposed amendment to Arizona’s state constitution to prohibit localities from adopting gay rights laws.
  • In 2000, Bowers was on the losing side of a 24-to-4 vote in the state Senate on a bill to ban insurance companies from discriminating against victims of domestic violence. His objection was based on an amendment that made clear that the state’s domestic violence laws equally applied to victims in same-gender relationships.
  • In 2001, Bowers helped to initially torpedo nondiscrimination protections for gay Arizonans who work for the state government.
  • Bowers also vociferously opposed a repeal of the state’s unconstitutional sodomy ban and laws that prohibited sex not intended to produce children. “We have a culture war here,” he proclaimed, terming the bill a “direct attack on the family.”

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