Chamblee OKs protections for gay city workers

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imageThe DeKalb city of Chamblee scored one for its gay employees Tuesday. But for transgender folks, the municipality had this to say: Better luck next time.

On Tuesday, the city council unanimously approved adding sexual orientation to the city’s non-discrimination ordinance, joining 10 other governments in Georgia offering similar protections. City council member Mark Wedge (top photo), who won re-election Nov. 3, brought the issue before his colleagues, who discussed it Nov. 12 and then gave it their legislative blessing Tuesday.

“Nobody should ever be discriminated against for simply wanting to love someone,” Wedge says in a statement released by Georgia Equality. “This unanimous vote ensures municipal employees are protected regardless of their sexual orientation. Although there has never been a problem with discrimination within Chamblee, after witnessing other cities take the lead on this initiative, I felt compelled for our great city to expand its protection for our employees.”

imageJeff Graham (bottom photo), executive director of Georgia Equality, commended city leaders for their unanimous vote.

“While we may have a way to go before employment nondiscrimination is protected by federal or state statute, actions such as that taken by the City of Chamblee prove that these protections have become a standard part of operating any municipality or business,” Graham says in a prepared statement. “Discrimination in any form is simply unacceptable in the workplace.”

The measure, though, does not include transgender employees. Graham expressed disappointment with that shortcoming, while Wedge says discussions are already underway to expand the protections to include transgender employees.

“While I am saddened that gender identity was not added during last night’s vote, I am especially proud of city leaders for recognizing the need to continue this discussion. Study after study has shown that this group is especially vulnerable to employment discrimination. Standing up for full-equality is clearly the right thing to do,” Graham says.

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