Decatur requires city vendors to have non-discrimination policy

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The City of Decatur will no longer do business with any vendor that doesn’t have an LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination policy.

The Decatur City Commission unanimously approved the change at its July 19 meeting. The move boosts LGBTQ protections in the city nearly two years after it passed its own sweeping nondiscrimination ordinance.

The new language applies to all city policies, purchasing documents and financial policies.

“The city will not knowingly conduct business with contractors who do not have a nondiscrimination policy in place that prohibits discrimination based on actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability, marital status, familial status, or veteran/military status,” the updated policy reads.

The city previously required vendors to not discriminate, but it did not require them to have their own in-house nondiscrimination policies, according to Linda Harris, assistant city manger of community and economic development.

“The folks from the Human Rights Campaign pointed out to me that their requirements had changed on the annual Municipal Equality Index, and the new guidelines encouraged having a policy for vendors,” Harris told Project Q Atlanta. 

“I did a deeper dive into our different contracts and RFP language and discovered we had the intention of nondiscrimination but having a policy made it stronger.”

The city will provide the necessary nondiscrimination language to any vendor who requests it, Harris added.

The city dramatically improved its score on HRC’s Municipal Equality Index over the last five years. It went from just a 21 score out of 100 in 2016 to 51 in 2017, 45 in 2018, 54 in 2019 and 86 in 2020.

Last year’s major jump came with the city’s adoption of its LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance in November 2019. Decatur was the sixth city in Georgia to adopt such a measure, and is currently one of 13 municipalities in the state to do so.

The movement to add LGBTQ protections swept across the state in the last three years. The city council in Columbus, Ga., expects a vote on its new non-discrimination ordinance later this month.

(h/t Decaturish)

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