Equality Federation members scored key municipal policy wins this year. While we often focus on statewide wins, these city and county victories are critical components of the fight for equality in the communities we call home.
Local nondiscrimination ordinances are a top priority in the 30 states lacking laws at the state level. In the past year, such protections have been passed in Anchorage, making that city the second in Alaska with such an ordinance. Youngstown became the 16th municipality in Ohio and Carlisle became the 37th in Pennsylvania with sexual orientation and gender identity protections. Freedom Oklahoma passed a historic ordinance in Oklahoma City and a resolution in Norman. Equality Florida was successful in Jacksonville. Lastly, Fairness West Virginia passed ordinances in Lewisburg, Martinsburg, Shepherdstown, Charles Town, and Wheeling in 2016, doubling that state’s total to 10. Equality Wyoming passed nondiscrimination resolutions in Cheyenne, Douglas, and Gillette.
We also defeated attacks against these ordinances and removed exemptions from them. After three years of hard work by Equality Ohio, Cleveland passed an ordinance removing a “bathroom” exception in that city’s nondiscrimination code. Equality Michigan beat back efforts to strip Jackson’s citizens of sexual orientation and gender identity protections.
Still other communities, like Allentown, Pennsylvania, Athens, Ohio, and Seattle, Washington banned conversion therapy for minors at the city level. Equality Pennsylvania and Equality Ohio, among other members, have been leading the charge in this area. Equality Maine also scored a victory by expanding trans-inclusive health care to City of
Portland employees and their dependents. It’s often said that all politics are local and this is especially true for our member organizations and their work.
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