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Fairness act causes controversy for council

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BATON ROUGE - The East Baton Rouge Metro Council is taking on a controversial civil rights topic this week with a proposal to ban discrimination based on a person's sexual orientation or gender identity, among other things.

Councilwoman C. Denise Marcelle said in order to continue the progress made with big companies moving to town, it must be clear that discrimination of any kind is not tolerated in Baton Rouge.

"Fortune 500 companies want to know that if they come here we have something in place that will say that we will not tolerate discrimination," Marcelle said.

She's proposing the ordinance that would ban employment and housing discrimination against a wide range of people, including veterans and disabled people. Those who are gay and transgender would also be included in that list.

"If we're going to protect people let's do it for all people, not just one group," Marcelle said. "Make it multiple people, inclusiveness."

Not everyone on the Metro Council agrees. Chauna Banks-Daniel said in a phone interview that she needs more convincing before she votes for the fairness act. She said she's seen no data of local discrimination incidents to support passing a new law.

The Metro Council will vote on the proposal Wednesday.


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