- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 1, 2015

MESA, Ariz. (AP) - Mesa City Council members have begun discussions that could lead to Maricopa County’s second most populous city joining Phoenix, Tucson, Tempe and Flagstaff in adopting an anti-discrimination ordinance.

The Arizona cities’ local laws generally bar discrimination based on characteristics that include sex, age, race, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation and gender identity.

Unofficial discussions in Mesa picked up steam last year, leading to the city’s human relations advisory board making recommendations that included adoption of an anti-discrimination ordinance that’d cover employment, housing and other areas.

Most council members support the idea of an ordinance but their preferences vary on possible specifics for a law, the Arizona Republic (https://goo.gl/9RT9Nc ) reported.

Councilman David Luna said he strongly supports adopting an ordinance. “We need to make sure that everyone in our community feels like they’re part of our city,” he said.

Councilman Dave Richins said he was newly open to the idea of considering an ordinance but didn’t want one that would create tension in the community.

“I want to be really careful that we don’t create a law that can be used to, really, publicly shame someone if they don’t want to make a wedding cake,” he said.

Councilman Kevin Thompson said he’s not in favor of an ordinance. “I’ve never felt that government is the solution,” he said.

City Attorney Debbie Spinner in coming weeks is expected to present the council with options on possible wording.

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