Westerville Nondiscrimination & Hate Crimes Ordinances
The first of these two bills, introduced and progressed through Westerville City Council together, will add sexual orientation and gender identity and expression (SOGIE), among other protected classes, to the chapter of Westerville City Code that prohibit discrimination. Specifically, it protects against employment discrimination, housing discrimination, and discrimination in accessing basic goods and services (also known as public accommodations). The second will add SOGIE to the laws that increase the penalty for violent crimes committed against members of certain groups based on their identities.
Because the state and federal government have failed to act on protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination, cities are being forced to protect their residents at the local level.
26 communities in Ohio already have these protections, and when these ordinances pass, Westerville will be the 27th.
The current draft has religious exemptions that far exceed state and federal religious exemptions. We’re advocating to have these changed back to match state and federal law.
What We Are Working For Next
- Hold first reading. This is the first time that the ordinances are publicly introduced to council. Usually, this is simply a reading of the ordinance and gives council members the opportunity to discuss possible amendments. This is done!
- Hold second reading and public hearing. During this reading, updates and amendments are publicly read, and the public has an opportunity to testify to city council, either in support of opposition to the ordinance. This is done!
- Hold third reading and vote. This will be the reading of the final draft of the ordinance with all amendments and additions that council and their staff have discussed, with input from the public. After the third reading, the council will vote to approve the ordinance and officially make it part of city code.