On Tuesday, the Raleigh City Council voted unanimously to strengthen its nondiscrimination ordinance, adding language to make it clear the city opposes discrimination in all forms. 

The update was not in reaction to the recent expiration of the HB2 replacement, Governor Roy Cooper’s 2017 response to the state’s controversial bathroom bill. With the law lifted, many municipalities have begun to enact their own nondiscrimination policies to protect LGBTQ people. 

However, the city has had its nondiscrimination ordinance on the book since 1969. As city attorney Robin Tatum explained during the council’s Tuesday Zoom meeting, the policy already opposes all forms of discrimination based on age, mental or physical disability, sex, religion, race, color, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, economic status, veteran status, national origin or “any aspect of modern life.”

The added language only strengthens the policy. Here’s what it states:

  • “Recognizing the substantial benefits that an equitable, diverse, and inclusive community provides, the City supports those community members and businesses whose efforts support a community free from discrimination. Equity, diversity, and inclusion are cornerstones of a strong local economy and commercial activities within the City should support economic growth and not hamper it. The City will not tolerate illegal discrimination and encourages its corporate and individual community partners to oppose discrimination in all forms.”

Jonathan Melton, one of the council’s two LGBTQ members, supported the update but wanted to make clear, “This is not a new policy in response to a change in any state law.”

“I think that it is appropriate for us to reaffirm our commitment to nondiscrimination,” Melton said during the meeting. “There is a lot more work that needs to be done and I hope that we will follow suit in that work.”

Follow Interim Managing Editor Leigh Tauss on Twitter or send an email to ltauss@indyweek.com

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