Thursday, 22 July 2010

Fire Someone in Memphis Because They're Gay? You Can Do That

Memphis. It's a city that has such deep ties to the movement for civil rights, that it's practically impossible to think about advancements in equality without mentioning the town. Yet to this day, the city of Memphis has no anti-discrimination protections for its LGBT citizens. That means that when it comes to the workplace, those who have a job in Memphis can be fired, denied a promotion, or harassed because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. And that's definitely a bleak spot when it comes to the reputation of the city.

But efforts are underway to change that. City Council member Janis Fullilove (who really has the most heart-warming last name of any politician I can think of) has introduced a measure that would add some really important language to Memphis's anti-discrimination ordinance. If Fullilove's measure passes, the following language will be added to the ordinance: "There should be no discrimination in hiring, promoting or demoting a city employee based on sexual orientation, gender identity or expression."

The City Council will take up the measure next on August 3. But while it seems like a no-brainer that such an ordinance rooted in equal rights would pass, this measure is totally up in the air. And that's because several anti-gay politicians and church groups are organizing like the dickens to defeat it. Take Bellevue Baptist Church, which earlier this year made headlines for kicking a softball team out of their church league, because they were worried it had too many lesbian players on it. The pastor of Bellevue, Steven Gaines, is dead set against this ordinance.

"It's going to discriminate against people of faith who are Christians in their worldview, and I believe with all my heart that they have rights too," said Pastor Gaines, taking on the role of snake oil salesman to try and confuse people into thinking that this ordinance would discriminate against a Christian's right to hate gay people. Pastor Gaines said that he's going to organize his church, and other churches, to blast city council with emails and phones calls.

We can't let Pastor Gaines and his cohorts be the only voices touching the Memphis City Council. Send a message to the council today, urging them to pass this ordinance and take a bold step for equality. Already, fellow Tennessee city Nashville has passed an anti-discrimination ordinance inclusive of gender identity and sexual orientation. Memphis should be in the same league. Let's get them to pass this measure at their next meeting.

Source By: Michael A. Jones (Change.Org)

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