An unfortunate update to Monday's story of the Bill 30-10, a measure that would ban employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in South Bend, Indiana’s fourth largest city. After a long and heated debate last night, Common Councilmember Oliver Davis, who sponsored the bill, was forced to indefinitely postpone the proposal, reports the South Bend Tribune.
After a two-hour public hearing before a standing-room-only crowd, the city's Common Council voted Monday night to table indefinitely a proposed ordinance extending employment discrimination protection to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people. Council member Oliver Davis, one of the measure's three sponsors, sought the continuance when it became clear that he lacked the five votes needed for a majority on the nine-member council. The key holdout was council member Karen White, D-at large, who said the proposal's language was too vague to win her support. Asked after the meeting what specifically she found so vague, White pointed to concerns raised by the council's attorney, Kathleen Cekanski-Farrand.
Anti-gay comments also came from council members Henry Davis, D-2nd, and the Rev. Timothy Rouse, D-at large. 'I have gays in my family but that doesn't mean I'm going to support legislation that condones their lifestyle' Rouse said. Henry Davis said he is a Christian who cannot separate his religious beliefs from his role as a council member. 'I'm not against people who are gay,' Henry Davis said. 'I love you. However, I don't love your behavior.'
But Oliver Davis said a council member, regardless of his own religious beliefs, must indeed factor in the community's diversity when passing laws that everyone must live by. Oliver Davis also seemed annoyed by the notion that the proposed ordinance is too vague. Its language exempting religious organizations, taken directly from a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, is very clear, he said.
In 2006, a similar measure failed to pass the South Bend Common Council by one vote. Indiana is one of 30 states that lacks any employment protections for LGBT citizens. Indianapolis and Bloomington have passed ordinances protecting LGBT citizens locally.
The National Organization for Marriage diverted its hate tour from Indianapolis to South Bend to attend the meeting. More details on the meeting at the Tribune, including priceless quotes from a Christian counselor who advises people to pray away the gay...