Indianapolis - Councillors Jackie Nytes and Scott Keller, each received an award for their leadership in the effort to extend human rights to all citizens of Marion County. Both Councillors were the lead sponsors in the passage of the Human Rights Ordinance (HRO) which the Council passed in 2005. The HRO brings the City and County into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, expands civil rights protection to all United States veterans and provides protection in housing and employment without regard to sexual orientation and gender identity.
Councillors Nytes and Keller received the Lambda Legal "Leadership Award", at the annual Indiana Lambda Legal Benefit Dinner on September 21, 2006. The award was presented to the Councillors because of their perseverance in the fight for inclusion in Marion County.
Councillor Nytes said, "I am honored to receive the award. I worked diligently to get the HRO passed, because everyone deserves the right to live in adequate housing and have a decent job. Getting this passed was just the right thing to do."
Councillor Keller said, "Passage of the HRO was a team effort, and although there were challenges and setbacks, we knew that protecting the citizens of Marion County was more important than the obstacles that constantly presented themselves to us."
Revisions of the Human Rights Ordinance began in 2002 with the intent to bring the City and County’s Code into compliance with federal and state laws. The changes were made by the Equal Opportunity Advisory Board and were approved by the board in December 2004.
Although the HRO failed when it was first presented to the full Council in April of 2005, it was eventually passed at a special Council meeting on December 19, 2005 by a bipartisan vote. Councillors Nytes and Keller received tremendous support from others in the community including citizens, elected officials, local churches, and major businesses.
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