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Residents sound off ahead of Metro Council fairness discussion

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Posted: Jul 23, 2014 8:19 AM by Hunter Robinson
Updated: Jul 23, 2014 8:19 AM
Source: WBRZ

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Topics: fairness, metro council, lesbian, gay, discrimination

BATON ROUGE - The Metro Council could vote on an issue dealing with equal opportunity at their meeting this afternoon.

A lot of items are on the council agenda, but one of the most controversial is the Fairness Ordinance that focuses on protecting sexual orientation, like race, when it comes to hiring and housing.

Councilwoman C. Denise Marcelle's proposal is based off of her previous ordinance that failed. It draws from existing laws that prohibit discrimination based on race, gender, and religion and extends those same protections to sexual orientation, gender identity and veterans status.

Councilman Ryan Heck is expected to submit a counter-proposal at today's meeting. Heck claims his proposal will be more appealing to businesses and religious groups because it omits a section on the LGBT community.

Residents of Baton Rouge, like council members, are split on the issue.

"I actually think it's time that something like this is passed," says Vicki Lee. "Other cities have passed this and I think it's time Baton Rouge came into the here and now on social issues like this."

Linda Jumonville doesn't agree.

"I feel that the government needs to stay of the issue and not pass any laws," she argues. "If i'm going to start a business, I'm going to hire who I want to hire. I know the market I'm going for so they need to stay out and not tell me who I should hire."

Supporters worry the issue isn't on the radar of most council members.

"What we're hearing from some of the Metro Council members is that they haven't heard from enough people," Eric Dexter explains. "We know that the people that want this passed are out there because of some of the surveys, so we need people to contact their Metro Council members to encourage them to vote 'yes".

Residents who want to voice their opinion can attend the Metro Council meeting this afternoon at 4:00 p.m.

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