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Baton Rouge council to consider LGBT-inclusive fairness ordinance

Monday, June 30, 2014
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BATON ROUGE, La. — The Baton Rouge Metro Council is again contemplating an anti-discrimination measure supported by the gay community, but it’s unclear how the proposal will fare when council members cast their votes.

Baton-RougeThe “fairness ordinance,” as it has been dubbed by its supporters, seeks to ban discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations based on race, color, religion, national origin, age, disability, sex, veterans status, gender identity or sexual orientation.

The Baton Rouge Advocate polled each of the Metro Council members on the latest proposal. At least four say they need more information about the version scheduled to be taken up July 23, while three came out as strictly opposed to it and two strongly in favor.

Three council members didn’t respond to calls and emails.

The Advocate polled each of the Metro Council members on the latest incarnation of the proposal. At least four say they need more information about the version scheduled to be taken up July 23, while three came out as strictly opposed to it and two strongly in favor.

Three council members didn’t respond to calls and emails seeking their positions, but two of them have expressed some openness to the idea.

So, it’s not a slam dunk either way. For backers, that’s actually good news, and they are hopeful that the ordinance could go through this time around, despite past defeats and deferrals.

“If Baton Rouge wants to be a great city then we have to begin to act like a great city,” said Joe Traigle, a prominent Baton Rouge businessman who is gay and has been a vocal advocate for local laws that would extend protections to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

With Baton Rouge luring businesses like IBM, which has a company-wide nondiscrimination policy, Traigle said he thinks that the city ordinance would send a message to other businesses, as well as the people they want to hire.

“We know that the best and brightest gravitate toward cities,” Traigle said. “We need to get in that game competitively.”

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