clearn.png
Monday October 18th, 2021 4:32AM

Macon-Bibb commissioners approve antidiscrimination rules

By The Associated Press

MACON, Ga. (AP) — A middle Georgia county has approved an anti-discrimination ordinance that would govern businesses, despite opposition from some.

Macon-Bibb commissioners voted 5-4 in favor of the proposal on Tuesday, sending it to Mayor Robert Reichert for his signature or veto, news outlets reported.

“This is just a stepping block to making sure Macon is a place where people can live freely, work freely, and indulge in some sort of commerce without free or retribution,” said supporter DeMarcus Beckham. “It’s what our community needs. Our community needs equality now, and needs equality tomorrow, and it needs equality forever.”

The ordinance would ban discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations based on race, religion, color, sex, disability, national origin, ancestry, sexual orientation, gender identity or military status. Under the ordinance, businesses could not discriminate by withholding any goods, services or accommodations.

The ordinance would allow people who felt they have been discriminated against to complain to the city-county government within 60 days, which would appoint a mediator. Any claims not settled in mediation would go to a hearing officer. Any business found to have been discriminating could be fined up to $500.

Supporters say a local process would be easier, faster and cheaper to use than pursuing federal civil rights lawsuits or employment discrimination complaints. Atlanta, Savannah and other Georgia municipalities already have similar ordinances in place.

The rules wouldn’t apply to private schools or any government agencies including public schools. Many of the sharpest disputes over transgender protections have centered on school bathrooms nationwide. Opponents focused on that in Macon, as well as on the larger issue of forcing people to respect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights when they oppose such behavior on religious grounds.

“In fact, this ordinance takes away the business owners’ freedom to practice religion, and instead coerces many Christian and Jewish faith-based people in our county to accept the LGBTQ lifestyle as one of their moral beliefs,” said former mayoral candidate Blake Sullivan.

Commissioner Valerie Wynn said many people had contacted her to oppose the ordinance. “It seems to be reverse discrimination against women and children, and the rights of these people that want other things besides this,” she said. “Why are we worrying this community about doing this? We have so many other things to worry about.”

But supporters said those who are worried about transgender intrusions in the bathroom were focusing on the wrong thing.

“Transgender individuals are beaten, discriminated and have acts of violence against them at an alarming rate,” Commissioner Virgil Watkins said. “When we talk about murders and suicides and acts of violence, those are the folks that need protection right now.”

Macon would be the 12th city in Georgia to pass this type of ordinance and the first county.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Business, AP Online - Georgia News, AP Online Headlines - Georgia News
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Deadline near for hand tally of presidential race in Georgia
Election officials across Georgia are staring down a deadline to complete a hand tally of the presidential race in the state
3:25PM ( 12 minutes ago )
Wind in forecast raises fears after Nevada fire burns homes
Another lashing of strong winds expected in northern Nevada has raised concerns about reviving a wildfire that roared through a neighborhood in Reno in similar weather a day earlier
3:25PM ( 12 minutes ago )
New York City schools to close again as city fights virus
New York City’s mayor says he’s shuttering schools to try to stop the renewed spread of the coronavirus
3:21PM ( 16 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Acting Pentagon chief cites risks during troop reductions
The acting defense secretary says the period of U.S. troop withdrawals from Afghanistan and Iraq in the coming weeks is “fraught with risk,” Speaking at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, Christopher C
2:50PM ( 47 minutes ago )
The Latest: Biden promises to prioritize state virus funding
President-elect Joe Biden says he’s hopeful that Republicans in Congress will be more willing to send money to state and local governments after President Donald Trump leaves office
2:46PM ( 52 minutes ago )
House Dems nominate Pelosi as speaker to lead into Biden era
House Democrats have nominated Nancy Pelosi for two more years as speaker
1:49PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Thousands protest violence-marred rally at Thai Parliament
Thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators have rallied in central Bangkok a day after a chaotic protest outside Parliament was marred by violence that left 55 people injured, including as many as six with gunshot wounds
9:47AM ( 5 hours ago )
UK's Labour roiled by feud over anti-Semitism and Corbyn
The leader of Britain’s main opposition Labour Party has refused to readmit ex-Labour chief Jeremy Corbyn to the party’s parliamentary ranks, accusing Corbyn of weakening efforts to stamp out anti-Semitism
9:40AM ( 5 hours ago )
Hungary sticks to veto of EU budget over rule-of-law issue
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban says the European Union’s proposed mechanism to link rule of law criteria to budget disbursements for EU nations is a “political and ideological weapon.”
9:38AM ( 6 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
The Latest: Ohio Stadium off limits to family and friends
Ohio State will prohibit family and friends of players and coaches from attending football games this season because of the dramatic spike in COVID-19 cases in the state
2:33PM ( 1 hour ago )
Pfizer: COVID-19 shot 95% effective, seeking clearance soon
Pfizer says new test results show its coronavirus vaccine is 95% effective
2:27PM ( 1 hour ago )
Stocks shed gains but remain near records on vaccine hopes
U.S. stock indexes are edging lower in afternoon trading Wednesday, weighed down by declines in health care and technology companies
2:15PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Business
ACC could benefit from show of force behind 3 ranked teams
The ACC football standings are topped by three Top 25 teams _ No. 2 Notre Dame, No. 4 Clemson and No. 12 Miami
1:01PM ( 2 hours ago )
Staley says her 'nice' Gamecocks need to prove they can win
South Carolina coach Dawn Staley likes almost everything about her team
12:55PM ( 2 hours ago )
SEC adapting to help league crown champion during pandemic
Commissioner Greg Sankey and the Southeastern Conference have their finish line in sight: The league championship game is set for Dec. 19 in Atlanta
12:53PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Online - Georgia News
Deadline near for hand tally of presidential race in Georgia
Election officials across Georgia are staring down a deadline to complete a hand tally of the presidential race in the state
3:25PM ( 13 minutes ago )
Wind in forecast raises fears after Nevada fire burns homes
Another lashing of strong winds expected in northern Nevada has raised concerns about reviving a wildfire that roared through a neighborhood in Reno in similar weather a day earlier
3:25PM ( 13 minutes ago )
New York City schools to close again as city fights virus
New York City’s mayor says he’s shuttering schools to try to stop the renewed spread of the coronavirus
3:21PM ( 17 minutes ago )
UK police arrest man over IRA bombings of pubs in 1974
Police have arrested a man in Northern Ireland in connection with the 1974 bombings of two pubs that killed 21 people and injured more than 200 in Birmingham, England
3:19PM ( 19 minutes ago )
Chiefs aim for payback for Raiders' victory lap on Sunday
It takes a lot to get under Chiefs coach Andy Reid's skin
3:12PM ( 26 minutes ago )