REACTION: Montgomery City Council Votes Down Mayor’s Anti-Discrimination Ordinance
We are getting reaction to the Montgomery City Council vote against Mayor Steven Reed’s Anti-Discrimination Ordinance proposal.
The proposal was presented to city council last night. Reed says he wants to protect not only the LGBTQ+ community but other minorities in the city. The proposed ordinance would have prevented businesses, residents and other entities from discriminating based on “real or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability, marital status, familial status, or veteran status.”
The proposal would have set up a 10-member Montgomery Human Rights Commission to promote “principles of diversity, inclusion and harmony” through education, events and resolving complaints.
If the commission determined that a violation occurred, it would have helped a person get a summons from Municipal Court to cease and desist and to enact a fine of up to $500.
“Let us determine what message we want to send to residents about our true commitment to diversity and inclusion of everyone,” Reed said to council members as he presented his proposal.
“It’s past time that Montgomery puts something on the books that says we are open,” Council member Marche Johnson said in support of the mayor.
But the council voted down the mayor’s proposal, 5-4.
This morning, Montgomery City Council President Charles Jinright told Alabama News Network why he voted no. He said one reason was that council members got the proposal laid in front of them as the mayor started speaking and didn’t have enough time to look it over.
“Plus, we have enough ordinances on the books across this country to take care of any discrimination issue we have. So the majority of the council have talked about this for a long time, and we felt like we had plenty ordinances out there to protect the people from any discrimination that might happen,” Jinright told us.
After the vote, Reed expressed his disappointment.
Tonight’s city council vote on the Non Discrimination Ordinance was disappointing for all of us who believe in a New Montgomery and it shows how far we have to go to ensure equality for everyone. SR
— Mayor Steven L. Reed (@MayorofMgm) August 18, 2021
Reed told the council before the vote that he would hesitate recommending Montgomery to businesses seeking an inclusive community if his proposal wasn’t approved. He said he might recommend they go to Birmingham instead.
“That was very disheartening,” Jinright said. “Because we’re trying to recruit business all the time. I would hope that he would not send them to Birmingham over the vote last night.”
Some members of Montgomery’s business community have posted messages on Twitter, expressing their disappointment that the proposed ordinance failed, including officials with the Montgomery Biscuits and the Alabama Shakespeare Festival.
I stand with Mayor @stevenlouisreed on this disappointing vote of the #Montgomery City Council. As managing owner of @BiscuitBaseball, I support the right of every one of our friends, neighbors and fans to be who they are without fear of discrimination or unequal treatment. https://t.co/gsXzZTdzjM
— Lou DiBella (@loudibella) August 18, 2021
I’m very disappointed in our City Council. I travel the country recruiting artists to MGM, and this is not a step towards building community.
Mayor steams, advocates jeer after Montgomery council votes down discrimination ordinance https://t.co/XWazshWc6b via @MGMAdvertiser
— Rick Dildine (@RickDildine) August 18, 2021