Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Charleston, SC City Council pass non-discrimination ordinance

I love it when in the midst of nonsense (hello Governor Mark Sanford), good things happen. The following is from Ray Drew of SC Equality:

The Charleston City Council passed legislation that prohibits discrimination in matters of public accommodations and housing to include protection for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) Charlestonians.

All across South Carolina, we are celebrating this historic victory for all families as Charleston joins Columbia as the second city in the state to enact such nondiscrimination ordinances.

These pro-business ordinances are consistent with the values of Charlestonians; they send the clear message that Charleston welcomes families from all walks of life.

This groundbreaking success is a result of many months of work by a collaborative team, led by SC Equality and including representatives from the Alliance for Full Acceptance (AFFA), Stonewall Democrats, Log Cabin Republicans, and American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Working together, these five groups educated city council members on the importance of these ordinances and guided the proposed legislation to passage.

Prior to today's vote, the City did not have a public accommodations ordinance. The ordinance that was passed prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, or sexual orientation. The vote also expanded the City's existing housing nondiscrimination ordinance to add age and sexual orientation. In both ordinances, the definition of sexual orientation includes gender identity or expression.

To me this is like finding money in your pocket when you think you are penniless. While attention may be focused (sometimes too focused) on places like Maine and California, we shouldn't forget that lgbts exist in all states of the country and our fight for equality should be on more than one front

Also, let me give a shout out to my lgbt brothers and sisters and our allies in Charleston. It took a lot of hard work to get this done and they should be commended for it for their collaborative efforts.

See what you can get when you work together.

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