US: Gay lawmakers create first LGBTQ caucus in Arizona Legislature

Four gay lawmakers have created the Arizona Legislature's first LGBTQ group at the Capitol, vowing to harness their community's economic power to push harder for equality in Arizona. 

On National Coming Out Day, which was Wednesday, LGBT lawmakers and Democratic leadership held a press conference in the rose garden on the Capitol grounds to announce the newly-formed caucus. They said the group will ensure issues affecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Arizonans get the attention of the governor's office and lawmakers.

State Rep. Daniel Hernandez, D-Tucson, a founding member of the caucus, said while marriage equality for same-sex couples was a good first step, Arizona still has far to go.

He stressed that it is legal in most of Arizona for an employer to fire someone because they are LGBT. That's because there is no statewide law prohibiting discrimination against LGBT people, though some progressive cities like Phoenix and Tucson have protections.

"For us, this is a really important time because when we are under threat at the national level, it is more important now than ever that we at the local and state level step up," Hernandez said.

Arizona's Legislature has four openly-gay lawmakers — that's less than 4 percent of the 90-member body. A common estimate is that about 10 percent of the general population is LGBT. Read more via AZ Central