Decatur City Commission to discuss nondiscrimination ordinance at work session
This story has been updated.
The Decatur City Commission at its Nov. 4 work session will discuss a nondiscrimination ordinance.
A copy of that proposed ordinance was not immediately available.
At a meeting in June, Clare Schexnyder, a Decatur mom and activist, asked City Commissioners to adopt a nondiscrimination ordinance like the ones passed in the cities of Dunwoody and Clarkston. Those ordinances prevent businesses from discriminating against anyone and provide a means for residents to file discrimination complaints with the city.
“Decatur should have been the first city in DeKalb County to do this,” Schexnyder said during public comments at the June meeting. “Instead, Doraville, Clarkston, Chamblee and Dunwoody have done the right thing, and we sit here, with not even an ordinance drawn up and before the commission.”
She told the commission a nondiscrimination ordinance “would provide a level of protection for employees and consumers of Decatur businesses against discrimination based on race, religion, color, sex, disability, national origin, ancestry, sexual orientation, gender identity, or military status.”
“It is a little-known fact that Georgia does not have any protections for discrimination based on the statuses mentioned above – if someone is a member of a protected class and wants to file a lawsuit, they are required to file a federal lawsuit, which is a challenge for many people who might have been wronged,” she said. “Most LGBTQ people are not covered as a Federal protected class at all, and therefore currently have no recourse at the state or federal level if they experience discrimination.”
At that same meeting, the City Commission proclaimed June as LGBTQ Pride Month in Decatur.
The Nov. 4 work session will start at 6:30 p.m. and will be held at City Hall, located at 509 North McDonough Street. It will be followed by the City Commission’s regular meeting at 7:30 p.m. All meetings are open to the public.
Mayor Patti Garrett said the issue has been on the City Commission’s radar for awhile.
“We have looking at developing an unlawful discrimination ordinance for Decatur for several months,” she told Decaturish on Sunday. “Other DeKalb cities have passed ordinances ordinances — Doraville, Dunwoody, Clarkston, Chamblee — [and] we wanted to develop one that was specific to Decatur. This has also been something the Better Together Advisory Board has discussed as well.”
The city of Decatur has taken steps over the years to show that it is welcoming toward others as the city has grappled with dwindling diversity. In addition to its board focused on diversity, Better Together, the city in the past has declared itself to be a Welcoming City and a Compassionate City to show its support for all residents and visitors.
The City Commission has a light regular meeting agenda on Nov. 4. The agenda items are:
UPDATE: These items were approved during the City Commission’s Nov. 4 meeting.
– A recommendation to authorize the City Manager to execute a contract for services with the DeKalb History Center in the amount of $5,000.
– A recommendation to authorize the City Manager to execute a contract for services with the Wylde Center in the amount of $15,000.
– A recommendation to authorize the City Manager to execute a contract for services with Global Growers Network in the amount of $15,000.