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Columbus Plans to Add Equal Rights Amendment to City Charter

Walker Evans Walker Evans Columbus Plans to Add Equal Rights Amendment to City CharterPhoto by Walker Evans.
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The annual Columbus Pride Festival officially kicked off today, and local leaders are taking the opportunity to show support for the advancements of LGBT rights in Columbus. Mayor Michael Coleman and City Council President Andrew Ginther announced their support for an Equal Rights Amendment that would boost non-discriminatory laws and add civil rights protections to the Columbus City Charter for the first time ever.

“Columbus is a smart, open and inclusive city that celebrates diversity and promotes equality and opportunity for all people,” said Ginther. “I would like to thank the Columbus Charter Review Commission for advancing a bold recommendation that recognizes the progress we have made as a city and reflects the values that define us.”

The Columbus Charter Review Commission reviewed the amendment in May and voted yesterday to advance the proposal to be considered for adoption. The amendment would include the following language:

“No officer, employee, or agent of the city shall deny equal access to city services, or equal opportunity in employment and promotion, or the benefits thereof, to any person on the basis of race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, disability, family or military status, or any other status that is protected by federal, state, or local law or ordinance.”

“I commend and applaud the Commission for affirming the importance of promoting equality and our duty as a city to uphold the individual rights of Columbus residents,” added Mayor Coleman. “Columbus is a 21st century city, and our Charter must continue to advance the principles and ideals we share as a community now and in the future.”

Portions of existing City Code already includes non-discriminatory policies, though the Charter amendment would keep those policies from being overturned in the future. The next Charter Review Commission meeting and public hearing takes place on Thursday, June 26th.

For more information, visit www.columbus.gov/CharterReviewCommission.

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