A nondiscrimination ordinance, which has been in discussion for the last four years, will be on this month’s Birmingham City Council agenda.
Originally introduced to the Public Safety Committee by Council President Johnathan Austin in 2013, the “Non-Discrimination Ordinance” seeks to protect any person who wishes to enter into a contract with the City of Birmingham from all forms of discrimination, which could be based on, “race, color, religion, natural origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or familial status,” according to the most recent draft.
Supporters of the ordinance are already rallying support on Facebook for the Sept. 26 Council meeting.
“While speakers are important, we also need to let the council know that Birmingham supports this ordinance, so we need you to show up even if you don’t plan to speak!” posted the organizers of the event, “Show Up & Speak Out for Fairness.”
“We want to pack the chambers and the hallways, so bring some friends with you!” the post continued.
The hearing is scheduled from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Eva Kendrick, Alabama director for the Human Rights Campaign, said she was encouraged by the progress being made in Birmingham and hopes the Council will not get “bogged down in the legality” and instead focus on why this is needed.
“In Alabama, LGBTQ citizens and others who may be under-protected by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, don’t have local accountability measures when it comes to discrimination,” said Kendrick. “What this ordinance would do is it would lead in creating local accountability. It seems like we’re more stuck on, ‘can we do this,’ as opposed to ‘why we need to do this.’”
*This article has been updated to reflect the change in date of the meeting.