No vote on 'Fairness Ordinance' due to time limits

Stickers being handed out at Metro Council (Source: Kiran Chawla/WAFB)
Stickers being handed out at Metro Council (Source: Kiran Chawla/WAFB)

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - After hearing more than three hours of opinions both for and against, the East Baton Rouge Metro Council adjourned its meeting without voting on the "fairness ordinance' due to time limits.

The council voted to extend the meeting past 8 p.m. to give residents opposed to the ordinance a chance to voice their opinions just like those  in support of the ordinance had done. But by law the meetings cannot go past 8:30 p.m. so the meeting was adjourned.

"We had the votes. It would have been defeated," said Council Member Buddy Amoroso. "It was a filibuster on their attempt to postpone until August 13. You saw how many people were here tonight. I thought it was an injustice to the public not having a vote."

Councilman John Delgado countered the vote delay will allow council members two weeks to discuss the issue and come back prepared when the it meets again.

"I think it will give them time, two weeks, to think about this," said Delgado. "Think about the impact it will have on the citizens of Baton Rouge. Think about all the testimony we heard from tonight. All the business leaders and 62 percent of public that supports this ordinance."

The ordinance was proposed by Councilwoman C. Denise Marcelle. Marcelle's proposal would make it illegal in Baton Rouge to discriminate against veterans, seniors and members of the gay and lesbian community, when it comes to housing, employment and public accommodations.

Opponents of the ordinance say it singles out select groups of people and they would prefer the city create a statement or resolution supporting anti-discrimination. However, supporters say this is a no-brainer and they hope to push that message at the meeting.

Many business and community leaders spoke in favor of the ordinance including Former LSU Coach Dale Brown.

"Passing this ordinance will make Baton Rouge a much better city. No doubt about it," Coach Brown said.

Those opposed cited religious views and other reasons.

"This is divisive to our community," says one man opposed to the ordinance.

"What's wrong with someone who has biblical values?" said one man who opposed the ordinance.

Another man said "I believe this ordinance is unfair and unjust."

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