June 02, 2009
The more things change...
Posted by: Chris
... the more they actually do change sometimes. I posted last week about how my hometown county commission was debating an ordinance to add sexual orientation and gender identity to non-discrimination ordinances. Well, yesterday the measure passed 9-4, albeit in (further) watered-down form:
Gay rights activists whooped and applauded when the Shelby County Commission voted 9-4 Monday in favor of an ordinance that could protect gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgender people from employment discrimination, but the resolution that passed was weaker than they wanted -- its three paragraphs make no mention of sexual orientation. …
The resolution that passed says "discrimination against any Shelby County Government employee on the basis of non-merit factors shall be prohibited," and doesn't mention any protected groups.
It was introduced by Commissioner Sidney Chism, who along with James Harvey represented swing votes on the issue -- both abstained from voting when commissioners split on the matter 5-5 in a committee meeting last week.
The importance of the measure is largely symbolic anyway, showing that a measure that's called "gay rights" can actually be enacted here in the Deep South. Just as symbolic was the opposition, from local conservative religious leaders, of course -- proudly on the wrong side of yet one more civil rights movement that is inevitably moving toward victory.
How can someone vote against a measure that prohibits discrimination on the basis of "non-merit factors"? Only if they firmly believe even the government ought to hire and fire based on their personal religious beliefs, all while screaming that their cause is actually in defense of "religious freedom."
(Photo via Memphis Commercial Appeal/Brad Luttrell)
TrackBack URL for this entry:
The comments to this entry are closed.