This morning, the [Memphis city] council’s personnel committee passed a resolution requesting the administration conduct a study of discrimination in city employment. The survey will include sexual orientation and gender identity or expression, but it won’t be limited to those issues. The city’s human resources department will conduct the survey.
The committee also passed the non-discrimination ordinance, and it will go to full council for a first reading on Tuesday, November 9th. A similar ordinance was withdrawn by its sponsor/council person Janis Fullilove in August at the request the Tennessee Equality Project (TEP). At the time, TEP cited a lack of support from Mayor A C Wharton and bias on the council.
People on both sides of the issue crowded the committee meeting room this morning, but there seemed to be more ordinance supporters wearing TEP stickers than opposition sporting “one man, one woman” stickers. TEP’s Jonathan Cole spoke on the need for workplace protections for LGBT city workers.
“Memphis is at a crossroads. Memphis cannot afford to send a mixed message to its residents or the rest of the world,” Cole said. “Will Memphis be the city of choice that we’ve heard so much about? A city that welcomes people of diverse backgrounds? Or will Memphis choose to send a message of exclusion, a message that diversity, fairness, and equality are not valued here?”
For their part, the opposition’s spokesman, Josh Davis, from the cutely named Family Action Council of Tennessee [FACT] [sic] had this to say:
“[A] workforce is more productive and manageable when a person’s sexuality and sexual practices are left out of the workplace and confined to their personal, private lives.”
True. It’s a lot easier to do that when you can’t be fired for going home to a spouse of the same sex. Or for mentioning your spouse at work. Things straight people, those flaunters of sexuality, do every day.