Charleston extends LGBT protections

Coastal city joins Columbia, other Southern cities with inclusive human rights ordinances

by Matt Comer  Editor  editor@goqnotes.com
Published: November 25, 2009 in News

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Without opposition from any council member, new non-discrimination ordinances extended protections to citizens in housing and public accommodations were passed by the Charleston City Council on Tuesday, Nov. 24.

The council adopted a new public accommodations ordinance prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, familial status, disability, age or sexual orientation, and extended an already existing housing ordinance to prohibit discrimination on the basis of age, sexual orientation and gender identity.

“The passing of these ordinances is consistent with Charleston’s historic reputation as one of America’s friendliest cities and a place that is welcoming to all people,” Victoria Middleton, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of South Carolina, said in a press release. “And they also affirm the constitutional principles shared by all Americans of non-discrimination and equality under the law.”

The new ordinances passed without opposition, although one council member abstained from voting. He said penalties for violating the ordinances weren’t high enough.

The new ordinances were presented to the council in August by a coalition of several LGBT and progressive organizations, including Charleston’s Alliance For Full Acceptance, the South Carolina chapter of Stonewall Democrats, the South Carolina Log Cabin Republicans, the American Civil Liberties Union and SC Equality.

Charleston joins several other Southern cities with comprehensive human rights ordinances, including Charleston W.Va., New Orleans, Atlanta, Covington, ken., and Columbia, S.C.

Columbia and Charleston also have LGBT-inclusive protections for city employees in place.