Orange County leaders joined the ranks of most other urban areas in Florida on Tuesday by voting 6-1 to expand anti-discrimination protections for gay people in the private sector.
The vote was notable for its lack of opposition. No residents spoke against it, in stark contrast to the city of Orlando’s passage of similar protections in 2002, which attracted fierce debate, religious group antagonism and a close vote.
“It’s a completely different world than it was 10 years ago,” said Patrick Howell, a lawyer and activist who lobbied for the new protections in both Orlando and the county.
“A lot of this is about sending the message that Orange County is an inclusive community,” Howell said. “Everyone’s welcome.”
The ordinance expands existing bias-protected classes already found in state and federal law, such as religion, race, disability and gender, to include sexual orientation.
The proposed non-discrimination ordinance protecting LGBT city workers is effectively dead for at least six months after the item failed on its second reading today at the Memphis City Council meeting.
The non-discrimination ordinance was the only item on the consent agenda, which typically contains several items on their first and second readings. The consent agenda failed to gain the necessary seven votes needed for passage.
This means the ordinance will not get a third reading, despite the fact that the city council approved a resolution at their last meeting for a city employment discrimination study to be conducted by the city’s human resources department.
When an item fails, it cannot be brought back for six months. Tennessee Equality Project’s Jonathan Cole said “we’re not going anywhere.” The equal rights organization will attempt to bring the non-discrimination ordinance back at a later date.
Holy crap, Memphis can’t even get city workers protected? Memphis’s City Council must be some kind of sanctuary for entrenched, oblivious morons or something, because all grown-up cities do this. Even Republicans vote for these kinds of measures — because you’d have to be a truly special kind of idiot to run around calling yourself a pro-business Republican*, but subsequently fail to support the very sorts of measures which make a city a friendly, good place to run a business.
Then again, a lot of people don’t earn the responsibility that’s been handed to them.
*Especially if most of the CEOs in town lived in your district…