Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Madison, Wisconsin Bars Discrimination Against Atheists, Agnostics, and Nonbelievers

As reported recently by AP, last month the city of Madison, Wisconsin enacted amendments (full text) to its Equal Opportunities Ordinance adding "nonreligion"  to the protected classes covered by its employment, housing and public accommodation anti-discrimination law (final action 3/31, enactment date 4/9). The ordinance defines "nonreligion" as "atheism, agnosticism, or other disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods."  Under the ordinance, non-profit religious organizations can still give preference to members of their own, or similar, denominations in hiring for instructional or policy-making positions, including hiring chaplains or counselors. According to a Freedom From Religion Foundation attorney, one of the reasons for enactment of the amendments is the recent increase in Madison of religiously-owned housing.