Carmel mulls new anti-discrimination ordinance

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CARMEL, Ind. (WISH) – The city of Carmel is considering an ordinance that specifically makes protections for people based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The ordinance was drafted by Mayor Jim Brainard and has the support of six of seven city council members, according to the city.

The ordinance would specifically protect from discrimination anyone based on race, color, religion, national origin, gender, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, family or marital status, ancestry, age, and/or veteran status.

“While we should all respect the religious beliefs of our fellow citizens – whether they be Jews, Catholics, Christians, Mormons, Muslims, Hindu’s, Atheists, Agnostics, or one of many other faiths and beliefs – I feel it is important that we recognize there is a distinct difference between how we worship our God in our churches, our homes and our hearts versus how we live, play and conduct business in the melting pot of mixed faiths and passions that we call America,” said Brainard, in part, in a statement he released.

The ordinance will be voted on at Carmel City Council’s meeting on Aug. 17.

Read the full text of the ordinance below:

ORDINANCE D-2224-15

A ORDINANCE OF THE COMMON COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF CARMEL, INDIANA, PROHIBITING CERTAIN DISCRIMINATORY CONDUCT WITHIN THE CITY

WHEREAS, it is the policy (“Policy”) of the City of Carmel, Indiana (the “City”) to encourage a diverse citizenry and to, within constitutional and statutory limits, make its businesses, housing, public accommodations, education, employment, contracts, programs, services, and amenities equally available and open to all persons; and

WHEREAS, the Policy serves a compelling governmental interest and is the least restrictive means of furthering that interest; and

WHEREAS, after appropriate discussion and deliberation, the Common Council of the City has determined that discrimination in the provision of and/or opportunity to participate or enter into businesses, housing, public accommodations, education, employment, contracts, programs, services, and amenities on the basis of a person’s race, color, religion, national origin, gender, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, family or marital status, ancestry, age, and/or veteran status is a burden to the objectives of the City’s Policy and contrary to the American principles of freedom and equal opportunity.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED by the Common Council of the City as follows:

Section 1. The foregoing Recitals are incorporated herein by this reference.

Section 2. The following addition should be and the same is hereby made to the Carmel City Code, shall be codified therein as Chapter 6, Article 1, Section 6-8, and shall read as follows:

Ҥ 6-8 City Nondiscrimination Policy

(a) It is hereby declared to be the policy of the City that no person, corporation, partnership, company, or other individual or entity located within, or conducting business within, the City’s corporate limits shall discriminate against any other person in the provision of and/or opportunity to participate in or enter into a place of business, obtain housing, use public accommodations, obtain an education, obtain and maintain employment, enter into a contract, and/or participate in or obtain any program, service, or amenity provided to the general public on the basis of the latter’s race, color, religion, national origin, gender, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, family or marital status, ancestry, age, and/or veteran status.

(b) Any person or entity that violates the City’s Nondiscrimination Policy as set forth in subsection (a) above shall, in addition to any fines, penalties, and other terms and conditions imposed by any federal, state, or county court or administrative agency of competent jurisdiction, be subject to a fine of up to Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00), plus reasonable attorney fees and costs, for each such violation, each act of discrimination against a person and each day during which an act of discrimination continues constituting a separate violation.

(c) Exclusions:

This section shall not apply to

(1) Religious worship and clergy while engaged in religious duties or activities; however, business activities by religious institutions or clergy are not excepted;

(2) A not-for-profit membership club organized exclusively for fraternal or religious purposes and/or any not-for-profit social club that is not open to the general public, so long as the same is exempt from taxation under the Internal Revenue Code, as amended;

(3) Any persons or property expressly exempted under Indiana Code 22-9 et seq., Indiana Code 22-9.5 et seq., or any other applicable and binding law or court decision;

(4) A private residence or private gathering not open to the general public;

(5) The maintenance of separate restrooms or dressing rooms for the exclusive use of persons of one gender;

(6) The hiring or referral for employment of a person for a job position on the basis of sex, religion, and/or age in those certain instances where the same are lawful bona fide occupational qualifications for the job position at issue.

Section 4. If any portion of this Ordinance is for any reason declared to be unconstitutional or invalid, such decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of this Ordinance so long as enforcement of same can be given the same effect.

Section 5. This Ordinance shall be in full force and effect from and after its passage and signing by the Mayor.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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