Tennessee Equality Project applauds Memphis City Council | Community Spirit
Tennessee Equality Project’s success Tuesday night for Memphis' non-discrimination ordinance to include LGBT-inclusive protections was more than five years in the making.
“It’s a good day in Memphis,” said TEP vice president Jonathan Cole.
Memphis City Council voted 9-4 to amend the municipal non-discrimination ordinance to include age, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity as factors that may not be used in city employment decisions.
Cole said this success is shared with many organizations in the Mid-South area including the LGBT community, Shelby County Democratic Party, the NAACP and the Memphis Police Department.
The vote will be approved when the council approves the minutes in two weeks. The ordinance applies only to the city of Memphis and not with groups that contract with the city.
When the ordinance is in effect, it will protect individuals from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the workplace. It will give a member of the LGBT community the right to challenge an issue in the workplace like if he or she feels harassed, or if he or she feels a decision like a promotion or demotion was bias.
"Having protections in place that will allow them recourse when they are discriminated against is what we need," said supporter Lee Gottlieb, who attended the council meeting Tuesday.
Cole said TEP put on a positive campaign that encouraged supporters and activists to send multiple emails and phone calls to city council. In addition, TEP supporters wrote postcards that were sent to Mayor A C Wharton encouraging him to take the lead in helping Memphis City Government enact LGBT-inclusive workplace protections.
“I was born and raised in Memphis and its history of vices and people’s rights have been honored and not honored. It was moving to see the council honor the rights of people on the job, it was a wonderful experience to see this town move forward. I’m proud of it, and I’m proud of the people involved, “ said Cole.
TEP's blog post Wednsday said the group applauds the Memphis City Council for voting to amend this ordinace. Now, Memphis joins Nashville and Knoxville as Tennessee cities that officially recognize and practice the American values of inclusion, equality and fairness in employment.
You can read more on Memphis City Council approving the ordinance in Janice Broach’s report here.