Follows is a petition I am submitting at the Council's March 22, 2004 meeting. The Chapel Hill News gave front page coverage to the petition this morning.
My hope is that the petition is referred to staff for drafting of the requested code and policy changes, and that the second petition is added to Wednesday's public forum on the Legislative Agenda. Also, I hope that this begins a discussion of these important issues in our community. As Mayor Foy says in the CH News, "the silence in North Carolina is deafening."
As both Insko and Kinnaird say in the article, the repeal of NC's Defense of Marriage Act is extremely unlikely, but is it any more unlikely than a moratorium on executions was several years ago? It was Carrboro and Chapel Hill that led the movement for local governments to pass resolutions calling for a moratorium on executions. Within a couple of years, scores of others, including the conservative bastions of Charlotte and Winston-Salem joined. The movement resulted in the NC Senate's passage of a moratorium resolution last year and it's on the House's agenda during the upcoming short session.
Comments from any OP.org readers?
TO: Mayor and Council
FROM: Councilmember Mark Kleinschmidt
DATE: March 22, 2004
RE: A Petition to expand the protections offered by Chapel Hills non-discrimination policies, and
A Petition to amend Chapel Hills Legislative Agenda, and
A Petition to Clarify Chapel Hills Non-discrimination Policies to Change References of Affectional Preference to Sexual Orientation.
Tonight I offer three petitions for consideration by the Council. Although they are separate measures, they each relate to concerns expressed to my by members of our local gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered community. The concerns that have been shared with me relate to incidents that have occurred in our community and the way in which our community should respond to events occurring now across the country. I hope to have your support
- A Petition to Expand the Protections Offered by Chapel Hills Non-discrimination Policies and Ordinances to Include Gender Identity and Gender Expression.
I offer this petition in response to a recent incident that demonstrated that access to our towns services was constructively denied to certain individuals due to differences involving gender identity and gender expression. I have nothing but the highest regards for Chapel Hill managements response to this incidents, but rather than rely on the good graces and good intentions of management, this Petition seeks to encode this communitys dissatisfaction with discrimination based on gender expression and gender identity and to clarify specifically that it is improper to deny services in this manner. As a corollary, I petition Council to expand the entirety of its discrimination policies to include this protection and that all current and new staff receive training regarding this change.
- A Petition to Amend Chapel Hills Legislative Agenda to Add a Request that the North Carolina General Assembly Repeal the So-Called Defense of Marriage Act.
I offer this petition as a response to many individuals who have contacted me from Chapel Hill, our neighboring communities and even from across the state regarding the extraordinary events occurring nationwide related to creating marriage equality for same-sex couples. The objective of this legislative agenda item would be to eliminate any hurdle for couples who may become legally married in other jurisdictions in this country to be able to return to our community and be recognized as a married couple. I also petition the Town of Chapel Hill to recognize marriage licenses received in other jurisdictions as evidence necessary to qualify such individuals for equal access to employment benefits and our Towns domestic partner registry. And that such a license will free any individual from having to produce any other evidence of the permanency of their relationship.
- A Petition to Clarify Chapel Hills Non-discrimination Policies to Change References of Affectional Preference to Sexual Orientation.
In preparing this Petition, I have noticed that Affectional Preference is the language that purports to protect individuals from discrimination based on sexual orientation. I petition the Council to eliminate this reference to preference and recognize the immutability of sexual orientation by explicitly referencing sexual orientation in every place affectional preference occurs in our Town Code and policies.