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St. Joseph County Human Rights Ordinance tabled

WSBT 22 Photo

The County Council will not be hearing arguments on a proposed human rights ordinance for St Joseph County.

The meeting was expected to be packed but we learned Monday afternoon the issue has been tabled.

The ordinance would have added sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected classes -- with some exceptions like religious organizations and anything connected to the State of Indiana.

It would have been similar to an ordinance passed in South Bend in 2012.

But concerns about the language and how it relates to the state statute meant it was put on hold at the last minute.

Instead, the council will be consulting with their legal counsel about this and considering some suggested amendments.

Patrick Mangan, from Citizens for Community Values of Indiana, has opposed similar ordinances.

“Every man and woman in America is covered by the Civil Rights Act. There is nobody without rights. So why should we have a right based on a decisional behavior -- why should we have a special right extended to people based on their sexual proclivities-- their abhorrent sexual proclivities," Mangan asks.

The LGBTQ Center strongly supports the human rights ordinance.

Eli Williams of South Bend's LGBTQ Center said she expected a packed house during the council's hearing.

Now, she says they will spend the coming weeks organizing and building coalitions.

“Regardless of whether we agree with LGBTQ issues that doesn't mean we should have to experience discrimination. That doesn't mean we should be fired from our job or kicked out of pour apartment. We deserve equal rights, not special rights, equal rights. We deserve justice,” Williams said.

The sponsors of the ordinance say it is not dead.

They believe this is needed to protect all citizens and encourage growth.

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