SHREVEPORT, La. — The Shreveport City Council on Tuesday voted in favor of a proposal to add sexual orientation and gender identity to its list of protected classes.
The Shreveport Fairness Ordinance, adopted by a vote of 6-1, would prohibit discrimination against LGBT residents in the areas of employment, housing and public spaces.
While Shreveport Mayor Cedric Glover signed an executive order in 2009 declaring protections for all city employees who are gay or transgender, the Fairness Ordinance extends those provisions to all residents within the city.
In Louisiana, and 29 other states, there are no state or federal protections in place to prevent someone from being fired, evicted or denied service just because of who they are or who they love.
People Acting for Change and Equality (PACE), a local organization that works to advance equality in Northwest Louisiana, led the Be Fair Shreveport effort.
“Discrimination is not only wrong, it’s bad for business,” said PACE political director Adrienne Critcher, who cited both ethical and economic reasons for the ordinance.
Article continues below“Public policy experts find that any city hoping to succeed in a globally competitive market must be able to attract and retain high-tech, high-talent, knowledge-based workers who use openness to diversity and, in particular, fair treatment of gay people as a proxy for whether that city provides a welcoming and stimulating environment in which to live and work,” she said. “Companies seeking the best employees make it clear they do not discriminate.”
She also notes that most national companies that do business in Shreveport already prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in their company nondiscrimination policies.
Shreveport becomes only the second city in Louisiana with an LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance; New Orleans is the other.