Clarkston beefs up its anti-discrimination policies

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imageThe Clarkston City Council on Tuesday voted to add sexual orientation and gender identity to its anti-discrimination policies, joining just a handful of Georgia cities in offering those protections to its workers.

The unanimous vote comes after the council took up the topic last month, moving towards adding sexual orientation but not gender identity. Lobbying by state Rep. Karla Drenner (photo), the General Assembly’s only openly gay member, helped expand the measure to include gender identity. Drenner’s district includes Clarkston. Only three cities in the state — Atlanta, Decatur and Doraville — offer similar protections.

“I’m proud of my hometown for taking a stand to support equality,” Drenner said. “Clearly the leadership of Clarkston understands the importance of respecting diversity. This truly is the small city with a big heart. Hopefully this action will serve as an example for other municipalities around the state.”

imageJeff Graham (photo), executive director of the statewide gay rights group Georgia Equality, applauded the Clarkston measure. He also pointed to council members Rosemarie Nelson, who introduced the ordinance, and Warren Hadlock, for assurng gender identity was included.

“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 Clarkston prove that these protections have become a standard part of operating any municipality or business,” he said. “Discrimination in any form is simply unacceptable in the workplace.”

Several jurisdictions in the state include sexual orientation among protected classes spelled out in anti-discrimination measures: Atlanta, Decatur, Doraville, Savannah, East Point, Tybee Island, Lithia Springs, Athens-Clarke County, Fulton County and DeKalb County.

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