Tuesday, March 27, 2012

South Bend Passes Human Rights Ordinance

South Bend joins other major Indiana cities in enacting a local ordinance that protects its residents from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The city's common council approved the expansion of its human rights ordinance on a 6-3 vote that protects against discrimination in housing, employment, education and public accommodations. Several efforts to enact the expansion in recent years failed due to organized opposition from Patrick Mangan's Citizens for Community Values, who denounced the measure as not being about tolerance. This is about forced public endorsement, the South Bend Tribune reported. This is about preference," he said. "It is not about equal rights -- it is about special rights.

Dr. Catherine Pittman, who has led the local efforts to pass the expanded ordinance over the past year, lauded its passage. "Even individuals who are not gay are often the victims of harassment," she said, "because even being perceived as gay or in the company of gay individuals can lead to discrimination." South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg spoke out in favor of the ordinance during Monday night's council meeting. He said the passage of the ordinance was a test of how well South Bend handles diversity and was important to the city's economic comeback.

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