PHOENIX — Members of Arizona's LGBTQ community want the National Football League to pull the 2023 Super Bowl out of Arizona.
That call is in response to last month's passage of two bills. One prohibits transgender athletes from competing in girls' sports. The other prohibits gender-altering surgery for anyone under the age of 18.
"The ultimate goal of this effort I think is to see these laws reversed and send a really loud message policy like this isn't going to be tolerated in the state of Arizona," said Phoenix Pride spokesperson Jeremy Helfgot.
When it comes to LGBTQ tourism, Arizona benefits greatly. Weather, scenery, and acceptance add up to tens of millions of dollars to the Arizona economy every year. But Helfgot says fallout from the transgender bills will have consequences. "There is a lot of economic power being brought to bear and it's a powerful message. But the message remains the same, these laws are toxic and they need to go," Helfgot says.
It's not the first call to pull the Super Bowl from the Valley. In February, religious leaders and voting rights activists from across the country sent a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell calling on him to move the game in protest to what they say are restrictive voting laws adopted by the Republican-controlled Arizona Legislature.
Responding to this latest call to boycott, a spokesman for the governor's office said, "We couldn't be more excited for the Super Bowl coming to Arizona next year. The most-watched sporting event of all time is a chance to put our state on full display for the rest of the country. But it's more than just a boost to our visibility. The Super Bowl's economic benefits to businesses large and small are tremendous. It makes no sense why anyone would want to deny Arizonans an opportunity like this."
ASU estimated the 2015 Super Bowl in Arizona meant $719.4 million to the local economy. The NFL has not yet responded to a request for comment.
This article was written by Mark Phillips for KNXV.