Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Indiana City Strengthens LGBT Anti-Discrimination Protections

As reported by the Evansville Courier & Press, Evansville, Indiana city council on Monday, by a 7-2 vote, passed Ordinance G-2016-05 (full text) which expands anti-discrimination protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals.  Previously the city banned discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, but the city's Human Relations Commission essentially lacked enforcement power. Investigation and mediation were solely voluntary on the part of the parties. The new ordinance gives the Human Relations Commission the same enforcement powers in cases of LGBT discrimination, as in discrimination on other bases. The new ordinance however also enacts new exemptions from the city's anti-discrimination provisions.  It exempts religious and religiously affiliated organizations, as well as private social clubs. City Council rejected proposed broader exemptions for individuals and non-profits with a "religious conscience."