Council Votes to Embrace Inclusion
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Cherrish S. Pryor

Council Votes to Embrace Inclusion

Indianapolis - The Indianapolis City County Council voted to pass Proposal No. 622, 2005. Commonly referred to as the Human Rights Ordinance (HRO), the proposal updates language to the Indianapolis/ Marion County Municipal Code to reflect changes in society, and to provide equal opportunity protection in housing, employment and education for all in the community. It also changes the membership of the Equal Opportunity Advisory Board from 22 to 14 members.

Councillor Jackie Nytes said, "Indianapolis has finally extended equal protection to everyone in our community. This sends a clear message that every life is valued and although we have differences, it is those differences that make our community, and this nation the best place to live, work and raise our families."

The Equal Opportunity Advisory Board worked on updates to the Municipal Code for over two years to develop a comprehensive proposal that extends rights to all segments in the community. Highlights of Proposal No. 622, 2005 are:

-To protect the employment of individuals in all city and county jobs regardless of their race, color, religion, disability, national origin, ancestry, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or United States military service veteran status;

-To codify the Indianapolis/Marion County Municipal Code with federal and state disability laws and to encourage the hiring of persons with disabilities in the public and private sector;

-Restates the Minority Business Enterprise and Women Business Enterprise goals for the city and county at 15 percent and eight percent respectively;

- To set a goal to utilize businesses owned by persons with disabilities;

-To protect employers, labor organizations, employment agencies, property owners, real estate brokers, builders, lending institutions, governmental and educational agencies and other persons from unfounded charges of discrimination;

-To guarantee all citizens of Indianapolis and Marion County, access to education, employment and public accommodations regardless of race, religion, color, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, ancestry, age, or United States military service veteran status; and

-To provide all citizens of the city and county with and equal opportunity to acquire housing without regard to race, religion, color, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, familial status, national origin, ancestry, age or United States military service veteran status.

"This proposal is completely about equal opportunity, not special considerations with regards to sexual orientation and gender identity," said Councillor Vernon Brown. "Unfortunately, fear caused many in the community to oppose this proposal based solely on that issue. They overlooked the fact that the US Constitution guarantees equal opportunity and protection to everyone," he said.

Councillor Nytes added, "I want to thank all the Councillors that voted for this proposal. They are sending a clear message that discrimination will not be tolerated in this community."

The proposal does not apply to not-for-profits, charitable or religious institutions, and social clubs that are not open to the general public.

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