News (USA)

Oklahoma City adds sexual orientation to city’s non-discrimination policy

OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma City Council this week voted to add sexual orientation to the city’s employment non-discrimination policy after a debate that lasted more than half of the council meeting.

The measure was approved by a vote of 7-2.

Gay and bisexual Oklahoma City employees and job applicants now have explicit protection against discrimination in city offices, reported The Oklahoman.

The number of speakers for and against the measure was about even, though it seemed the majority of the people in attendance were against the measure. Some speakers were applauded when they finished their comments, and the applause was loudest and longest for those who spoke against it.

In general, speakers against the measure cited religion and opposition to adding a class not protected by federal or state law to the city’s policy as their reasons.

Speakers in favor of the measure generally spoke about a desire for fairness and equality.

Since the council meeting, one Oklahoma pastor — who spoke in opposition to the ordinance — said he has now been receiving death threats.

Rev. Paul Blair, of Fairview Baptist Church in Edmond, said his church office received at least ten phone calls, each becoming more threatening and violent as the previous calls.

Blair said he was opposed to the city’s new policy is because it would create a special class of protection based on a person’s behavior.

The council ordinance only applies to city employees and not any private businesses.

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