Council set to vote on anti-discrimination ordinance

Council set to vote on anti-discrimination ordinance

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - An amendment to an existing East Baton Rouge Parish anti-discrimination ordinance is expected to face a tough road at Wednesday’s Metro-Council meeting.

“I do believe there's a need for it,” said East Baton Rouge Metro-Council Member C. Denise Marcelle.

Marcelle authored the measure that will ban discrimination in employment and housing against specific groups like veterans, seniors and members of the gay, lesbian and transgender community.

“Even if it's one person that's been discriminated against that's enough for me in order to create something to protect that person.

I don't care if it's 5, 10, 15 or a hundred people that have been discriminated against. I think there's no policy on the city level and I think that we need that policy,” said Marcelle.

Buddy Amoroso is one of the council members that have come out publicly against the ordinance.

He says he opposes discrimination practices against everyone and adds these ordinance changes protect singled out groups.

“We're trying to look at some kind of resolution saying Baton Rouge will not discriminate and Baton Rouge is going to be a fair city and that all discrimination is wrong without naming these individual groups,” said Amoroso. “I'm concerned about creating special, collective classes under the law.”

Amoroso is not alone. Council Members Joel Boe, Chauna Banks-Daniel, Ryan Heck, Tara Wicker and Scott Wilson all told WAFB they are opposed to the ordinance change as well.

Marcelle is joined in her attempt to amend the existing ordinance by only Council Members John Delgado and Chandler Loupe.

Even if Ronnie Edwards, Donna Collins-Lewis and Trae Welch were to support the amendment, it would not receive the required seven votes to approve the measure. Marcelle is still hopeful some members may change their minds Wednesday.

“It's about everyone having due process to the law and I don't know why people tend to pull out one thing they don't like about the ordinance or they don't like certain people,” said Marcelle. “You love everybody. You ought not want those people to be discriminated against.”

The Baton Rouge Area Foundation released results of a poll that showed 62 percent of about 520 area residents would support an ordinance banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and Monday Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden posted on Facebook asking people to contact

their representatives and show support.

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