Wednesday, March 30, 2016

City Council votes to strengthen LGBT civil rights protections

While they've been a protected class for four years in the city, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people now have backing to protect against discrimination.

After a lengthy discussion that included more than 20 speakers from the public, the City Council Monday night voted 7-2 to amend its human rights ordinance to give the Human Relations Commission enforcement and investigatory powers into claims of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Under the old city ordinance, sexual orientation and gender identity were included as a protected class in the city's Human Relations Commission code, but investigations were voluntary.

That meant a homosexual or transgendered person could be fired from a private business, denied housing, refused service or kicked out of school, and the case would be closed if the accused party didn't comply with an investigation.
Religious exemptions do apply. With the amendment passed Monday, churches, religiously affiliated nonprofits, religious schools and other official religious organizations are exempt from the commission's reach to enforce anti-discrimination claims.

City Council votes to strengthen LGBT civil rights protections

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