City Council To Vote On Anti-Discrimination Policy

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(Memphis)  On Tuesday, Memphis city council members will vote to possibly change the wording in a city ordinance.

It prohibits city workers from getting fired or looked over for promotions because of things that don`t add or take away from their job.

By federal and state law, discrimination of any kind is illegal.

The new ordinance spells it out, adding "national origin, ethnicity, age and disability" into the policy.

Jonathan Cole with the Tennessee Equality Project hopes the city will also add that members of the LBGT community are protected also.

" All people deserve to earn a living, provide for their family and contribute to the communities without fear of losing job or not being able to find work," said Cole.

A similar push failed to pass the city council less than two years ago. In 2010, Bellevue Baptist Church pastor,  Steve Gaines,  strongly supported excluding words that specifically outlined LGBT people from the city`s workplace protection policy.

" It's going to discriminate against people of faith, against people who are Judeo-Christian in their value system and their world view," said Gaines.

The measure was shot down by just one vote.

Councilman Bill Boyd voted it down, saying it just wasn't necessary.

He believed LGBT city workers  or applicants were not being pushed aside for jobs.

"They've never had any complaints regarding this issue. I don`t know if they are really out there or not," said Boyd.

Despite losing his fight in 2010, Cole is optimistic this time around.

He says,  if passed,  the ordinance would bring Memphis into the 21st century.

" I don`t want people to feel like they need to leave this city in order to be who they are,  to live their lives, to make a living," said Cole.

Similar ordinances are already in place in cities around the country, including Nashville and Knoxville.