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Natchez aldermen review proposed ordinance against discrimination
from Staff Reports - NEWS
March 27, 2019 - ListenUpYall.com

By John Mott Coffey

NATCHEZ, Miss. – City aldermen are reviewing a proposed anti-discrimination ordinance that could authorize the city judge to impose a $500 fine on anybody found guilty of violating it.

The proposition is focused mainly on punishing people found guilty in court of bias against lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders, said Natchez Mayor Darryl Grennell.

The Board of Aldermen on Tuesday discussed the “nondiscrimination ordinance” as drafted by city attorney Bob Latham. However, the board voted to delay a decision on adopting it. While aldermen said they want to discourage discrimination, they had questions about the ordinance’s legalities and how allegations of discrimination would be investigated.

Latham said people exercising their religious beliefs would not be in violation. Mississippi in 2016 enacted a religious-freedom law that allows people to discriminate against lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders. For example, county clerks can cite religious objections in recusing themselves from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The law also protects merchants who refuse services to LGBTs.

As proposed, the city ordinance would let allegations of discrimination be heard by Municipal Judge Lisa Jordan Dale. If found guilty, violators could be fined $500.

Grennell said the proposed anti-discrimination ordinance is similar to what Jackson has enacted. The City Council there in 2016 adopted a comprehensive anti-discrimination policy that also prohibits discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.




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