Terre Haute voted to protect Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in their human relations commission ordinance yesterday.
Tribune-Star: Gender, sex orientation language passes council
Terre Haute City Council on Thursday unanimously passed an amendment to the city’s human relations commission ordinance, adding language on gender identity and sexual orientation.
The ordinance now prohibits discrimination against transgender or gender non-conforming people in employment, housing, public accommodations, education and financing practices. Such discrimination was already prohibited on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, age, gender, sexual orientation, marital status or physical or mental disability.
Council’s vote was 7-2, with members Jim Chalos and Don Morris absent.
“Terre Haute is a welcoming place, everybody is welcome,” Jeff Lorick, the commission’s executive director, told council members before the amendment was approved. “And I’m sure the expanding of that ordinance will further make that statement, that we are an inclusive community.”
The amendment, co-sponsored by all nine council members, came after the commission reviewed the ordinance in the wake of Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Critics argued the law could serve as a vehicle for discriminating against gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender Hoosiers.
Changes to the local ordinance included adding definitions for discrimination, gender identity and sexual orientation.
The amendment also spells out that the commission should broadly represent the community in regard to sexual orientation or gender identity.
The revisions also add sexual orientation and gender identity to language requiring the commission to identify and recommend ways to eliminate discrimination on those bases. It also is to study, investigate and recommend action against “any condition having an adverse effect upon relations between persons” of various communities.
Terre Haute joins six other Indiana cities or counties that include gender identity in anti-discrimination ordinances, according to the Human Rights Campaign, a national LGBT civil rights advocacy organization.