Betty Bean with a report on yesterday's County Commission meeting and the approval on second reading of a new addition to its non-discrimination policy:
Amy Broyles was surprised it was so easy.
The ordinance she sponsored to include sexual identification and gender identity under the county's non-discrimination ordinance regarding hiring and employment became law at Monday's County Commission meeting. The commission approved the ordinance on second reading without a dissenting vote.
"I thought there would be a lot of discussion of it," says 2nd District Commissioner Broyles. "It sailed through four meetings (two work sessions and two full commission meetings) without any discussion at any point, except for this month's work session, where (Commissioner) Mike Brown asked why we need to do it."
Ordinances must be approved on two readings at the Commission's monthly meetings, which are preceded by monthly workshop meetings. Brown didn't vote during the July work session, and was absent from Monday's meeting.
"Hopefully, he would have been having a better day today," Broyles said.
After the vote, Broyles was congratulated by members of the Tennessee Equality Project (TEP), an organization that advocates equal rights for Tennessee's gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community. Wearing blue T-shirts and stickers bearing the logo "Same work, same worth," they turned out to see Knox County become the fourth local government in the state to protect its employees from job discrimination. Metro Nashville passed such an ordinance in 2009; the city of Knoxville and the city of Memphis did so in 2012.
Ben Byers, chair of the TEP Knox County Committee, applauded the vote:
"With no state or federal job protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender workers, the county's non-discrimination ordinance is vital in guaranteeing fairness on the job. It means that Knox County won't allow discrimination to get in the way of attracting and retaining talented employees."
For more information on the Tennessee Equality Project and the Tennessee Equality Project Foundation, go to tnequalityproject.org.