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Evansville city code to include protections for sexual orientation, gender identity

Monday, December 5, 2011
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. — A measure which was passed Monday by an unanimous vote of the city council, amends the Evansville city’s municipal code to include provisions against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Dan McGinn

According to the measure’s sponsor, City Councilman Dan McGinn, “My hopes are that prejudice and bigotry will slowly disappear. Hopefully it will disappear like a lot of other groups. That’s my hope.”

McGinn told the Evansville Courier & Press that he had lost his brother to AIDS and had been a lifelong witness to issues like gay bashing. Sponsoring the revision in code to provide equal opportunity for all citizens in the areas education, employment, access to public conveniences and accommodations and the purchase or rental of real property, was his chance to help, he said.

“I’m in a position where I could help eliminate all of this,” he said. “That’s why I’m interested in helping.”

The approved ordinance also defined sexual orientation as being male or female sexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, real or perceived, by orientation or practice.

McGinn said defining those terms in city code would provide an opportunity for discussion in the community. That, he said, would result in a better understanding.

McGinn also said perhaps the biggest impact the community will see from the revision is how it bolstered the city’s efforts to grow areas like Downtown and the Arts District.

“By broadening our statute and adding four different types of people, it will let people know we are nice people, and we are tolerant,” he said. “We want to let the rest of the state and the rest of the world to now discover the great people of Evansville.”

“Talking about the issues is what helps to eliminate the prejudice and bigotry,” he said. “I think a more open, free society will let people know we’re starting a trend where we’re trying to let them know we’re accepting of all lifestyles.”

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