Hammond council to vote on anti-discrimination resolution

2013-07-20T19:00:00Z 2013-07-21T01:08:07Z Hammond council to vote on anti-discrimination resolutionAnna Ortiz anna.ortiz@nwi.com, 219-933-3241 nwitimes.com
July 20, 2013 7:00 pm  • 

HAMMOND | The Hammond City Council is preparing to vote on a resolution sparked by a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision pertaining to gay rights.

The proposed city resolution prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation or identity is sponsored by Councilman Bill Emerson, D-4th. It will be considered at Monday's City Council meeting.

"This is in line with most of the citizens' beliefs," Emerson said. "This is why I sponsored it."

Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a key provision in the Defense of Marriage Act, eliminating a clause that once prohibited the federal government from recognizing gay marriage.

Hammond City Attorney Kris Kantar and Emerson began drafting the resolution after that ruling.

In writing the measure, Emerson said he was careful not to overstep state laws. Same-sex marriage is not recognized in Indiana.

The resolution states, "The city of Hammond, by its Common Council recognizes that state and federal saw supersede municipal ordinance, however the city of Hammond wishes by this Resolution to express its opposition to discrimination ... based upon sexual orientation and sexual identity."

The resolution also urges that city government, on behalf of the residents, work to support federal, state and local laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and sexual identity.

Emerson and Kantar discussed the resolution with several council members and haven't garnered any negative responses. They also reported no residents have commented concerning the resolution.

Emerson said anti-discrimination is what the country was founded on.

"Discriminating against anyone for any one reason — I don't think that's what we want and the direction we want to go," Emerson said.

Having the resolution in place, Emerson said, will be helpful if there are discrimination issues down the line.

"At least we'll have the resolution in place that says this was not our intent or where we are at," Emerson said.

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