Columbia City Council passes gender protection measures

A new group of Columbia residents now has protection against several forms of possible discrimination.

By Scott Malone (Columbia, Mo.)

Columbia City Council has approved a new ordinance that has been more than 10 years in the making.  The amendment adds gender identity to the list of categories protected against discrimination.  It extends discrimination protection for transgender citizens in regard to employment, housing and public accommodations.  Mayor Bob McDavid says he and the other council members were glad to see the ordinance revisited.

“I mean this is something that’s going to pass with no contention and no disagreement.  I think a lot of use are wondering why it didn’t happen previously.  Maybe times do change, people change, but it’s sort of nice to have a non-contentious issue that we all agree with,” McDavid said.

Councilmember Fred Schmidt says he is surprised it took this long, but he believes revisiting this ordinance was needed to reflect our nation’s values.

“America’s great strength is its diversity and we have continued to expand the notion of what that means.  I’m a little surprised, too, but we’re here today and we’re going to vote yes,” Schmidt said.

Before the final vote councilmember Barbara Hoppe pointed out that age was not part of the protected categories.  The council members then amended the ordinance to include protection from discrimination based on age as well.