A bill to update Metro’s nondiscrimination ordinance received more intense debate from Council members before being deferred on second reading for one meeting.
At-large Councilwoman Megan Barry, the bill’s primary sponsor, said members have lingering questions that still need to be answered.
Barry’s preference that bill be deferred was ignored in the Council personnel committee, which voted to disapprove the nondiscrimination ordinance 4-2.
The bill would make it unlawful to discriminate against Metro workers or those seeking employment with the government on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
District 22 Councilman Eric Crafton introduced a series of amendments , but then withdrew all but one of them at Thursday’s meeting.
“My whole philosophy is I don’t think we should discriminate against anybody for any reason,” Crafton said. “I think we should be color blind. I think it should be based on merit and I don’t think any kind of orientation deserves a leg up over any other kind of orientation. I think we should be treated equally. At some point I think we need to get to a point where everybody is equal and there are no favorites chosen.”
Admitting it was an emotional issue, Barry vowed to continue working on answering questions surrounding the bill and expressed confidence she had the votes to pass it into law.
“It’s emotional issue because I believe all of our brothers and sisters should be protected equally,” Barry said.
The remaining amendment explicitly states that the update to the nondiscrimination policy should not be interpreted as Council providing medical or pension benefits to the partners of Metro workers.
Mayor Karl Dean has already announced his support for the ordinance, as has the Metro Human Relations Commission, which would oversee its implementation.