Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton gives his State of the City Address at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013.

[David Jolkovski/AFN]

Mayor Greg Stanton is one of nine mayors who recently signed a letter to congressional leaders urging them to craft legislation to safeguard against the Supreme Court’s ruling that exempts certain companies from paying for insurance coverage of some contraception methods.

The mayors say the decision could undermine anti-discrimination laws. The city of Phoenix passed a sweeping anti-discrimination ordinance last year.

“The ruling may have far-reaching consequences if lower courts use the Supreme Court’s interpretation in broader matters of religious freedom at the expense of our anti-discrimination laws,” the letter said. “While the decision is narrowly focused, the implications as they relate to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA) may encourage efforts to revive dangerous proposals that enable individuals and business owners to discriminate on the basis of ‘religious beliefs,’ such as Arizona’s SB 1062 — a law that would have allowed business owners or individuals to use religious beliefs as grounds to deny service to others based on their sexual orientation.”

Signers of the letter include Jonathan Rothschild of Tucson; Edwin Lee of San Francisco; Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles; Pedro Segarra of Hartford, Conn.; Michael Coleman of Columbus, Ohio; Michael Nutter of Philadelphia; Angel Taveras of Providence, R.I.; and Ed Murray of Seattle.

The mayors say that while the ruling is narrow, some groups will try to use it as a justification to weaken anti-discrimination laws.

The letter was sent to Speaker of the House John Boehner, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7914 or ahurtado@ahwatukee.com.

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