Dean supports nondiscrimination ordinance

Tuesday, July 14, 2009 at 6:06pm

Mayor Karl Dean was unambiguous in his first public statement about the nondiscrimination ordinance, which was officially filed with the Metro Clerk on Tuesday.

The ordinance, which was introduced by at-large Councilwoman Megan Barry and co-sponsored by at-large members Tim Garrett, Ronnie Steine and Jerry Maynard, would make it unlawful to discriminate against a Metro worker based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. The ordinance would also make it unlawful to discriminate against someone applying for work with Metro on those grounds.

“I am against discrimination,” Dean said. “Everyone should be treated fairly when it comes to employment with the Metropolitan Government. I support this ordinance.”

At least six other Council members had already signed the legislation as of Tuesday. Barry filed the ordinance last week with Council offices last week but waited to send it over to the Clerk’s office so as many members as possible could co-sign it.

A nondiscrimination ordinance was introduced in 2003, but ultimately failed. Barry has said in the past that the time has come to protect “all of our brothers and sisters in Metro,” and Steine predicted last week the ordinance would pass through Council.

“I’m an optimist,” Steine said. “I just believe the government and the government work place ought to be an environment where individuals are treated with respect and treated equally.”

At least one Council member is unsure if an update to the nondiscrimination policy is the best way to prevent discrimination.

District 4 Councilman Michael Craddock said he preferred mandatory diversity sensitivity training for Metro workers over an ordinance.

Metro’s current nondiscrimination ordinance makes it unlawful to fail or refuse to hire, promote, fire or discriminate against an individual based on race, religion, creed, gender, national origin, color, age or disability. Gender identity and sexual orientation would simply be added to the ordinance.

There was speculation that the ordinance would go beyond Metro government and apply to private businesses in Davidson County, but the Steine said Metro should lead by example first.

The ordinance will be on the July 21 Metro Council agenda.


5 Comments on this post:

By: idgaf on 7/15/09 at 4:51

It is good that dizzy (dean) took a stance on this so we know where he stands.

By: Kosh III on 7/15/09 at 6:19

Thank you Mr. Mayor.
Equality for All!

By: govskeptic on 7/15/09 at 11:07

Does anyone find this mayor's position on this issue a surprise? " Equality: or another "special right"?

By: Saveusall on 7/15/09 at 11:29

Yes, indeed, Mayor Dean is truly showing us his true colors: anti-discrimination. Hurray for a politician unafraid to take a stand for equal (not special) rights! How could providing equal rights for gays and lesbians be perceived as "special"? It's just equal, that all. There's absolutely nothing "special" about it.

Now, let's get that absurd guns in bars (and parks) ordinance repealed -- it truly is "special" and beyond the pale of all reason. What could possibly be the benefit (other than to enrich gun makers and sellers, and their supporters in government)? The NRA won't quit until every American is packing heat in every possible location. Just make them stop.

By: Kosh III on 7/15/09 at 12:19

"race, religion, creed, gender, national origin, color, age or disability"

Are these currently covered categories "special"? Religion and creed ARE chosen lifestyles.