Will Birmingham Pass A Law Protecting The Lgbtq Community?

The Birmingham City Hall is shown in Birmingham, Ala., Monday, August 5, 2013. (Mark Almond/malmond@al.com)

Equality Alabama is asking Birmingham to join more than 200 cities and counties around the nation and pass an ordinance protecting the LGBTQ community from discrimination.

"LGBTQ people in Birmingham are being discriminated against and have no legal protections in employment, housing, and public accommodations, Equality Alabama executive director Alex Smith said in a statement. "That means you can get married on Saturday then on Monday be fired from your job, evicted from your home, or denied service because you’re LGBTQ. No one should be discriminated against because of who they are or whom they love."

The organization, who addressed the Birmingham City Council during its regular meeting on Tuesday, asked the body to pass the non-discrimination ordinance in the next 60 days.

Smith said the ordinance was submitted to city’s law department. It is the same ordinance the group, the Human Rights Campaign and others have asked the city council to pass for several years.

City Council President Johnathan Austin said an ordinance to form a city-wide human rights commission to prevent discrimination in employment, housing or accommodations has already been submitted to the mayor. He presented the ordinance three years ago.

"They have it," he said. "We want them to move on it, so we can vote on it, and pass it so we can protect the rights of all of our citizens."

Smith said this year is the time for the council to pass a non-discrimination ordinance.

"It has been one year since the Pulse nightclub massacre and since Jackson, Miss. passed a non-discrimination ordinance," he said.

With it being an election year, residents are watching their city officials, Smith added.

"In this day and age it is obvious that there is discrimination in the LGBTQ community," he said. "We have seen that kind of hate and intolerance rear its ugly head here."

Northwest Alabama’s first-ever LGBTQ pride parade, which took place Saturday in Florence drew protests from the Ku Klux Klan.

Several members of white nationalist groups dressed in Ku Klux Klan robes and other regalia staged a protest at a Sunday event in Florence described by organizers as Northwest Alabama’s first-ever LGBTQ pride parade.

Smith said the proposed ordinance would prohibit Birmingham-based employers and other entities from discriminating based on sexual orientation and gender identity, which are protections not provided in the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The ordinance guarantees the right to obtain and hold employment without discrimination; the right to the full enjoyment of any of the accommodations, advantages, facilities, or privileges of any place of public resort, accommodation, assemblage, or amusement; the right to engage in property transactions, including obtaining housing for rental or sale, and including credit for obtaining housing for rental or sale, without discrimination; and the right to exercise any right granted under this ordinance without suffering coercion or retaliation.

The ordinance would also call for the creation of the Birmingham Human Rights Commission. This body would be charged with promoting "principles of diversity, inclusion, and harmony in the city of Birmingham through education, community events." It would also receive and resolve filed complaints.

Also under the ordinance, the commission would have the power to fine violators.

President Donald Trump departs the Diplomatic Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday on June 14, 2017.

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