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Oklahoma City Council passes sexual orientation measure

Ward 2 Oklahoma City Councilman Ed Shadid's measure to add sexual orientation to the protected classes in the city's employment nondiscrimination policy won approval Tuesday in a 7-2 vote.
BY MICHAEL KIMBALL mkimball@opubco.com Published: November 16, 2011
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Vineyard received the longest standing ovation of the day after his remarks.

Council weighs in

Kelly said black Americans like him know the most about discrimination, contending the city had no need to add the wording to its policy because there have been few claims of discrimination in city offices based on sexual orientation.

City staff has said only two such claims have been made in the last 12 years, and only one was substantiated.

McAtee agreed with Kelly, saying there's no need for the policy in the city because there isn't a track record of such discrimination.

Ward 5 Councilman David Greenwell expressed his reluctant support for the measure, saying he didn't think a vote was needed because of the relative lack of discrimination claims in the city, but added that he didn't want to face criticism from people who didn't understand his views if he voted against it.

Shadid cited companies like Chesapeake and Devon that include sexual orientation in their nondiscrimination policies, saying his instinct as a businessman is to provide equality and protection.

Ward 4 Councilman Pete White said he thinks gay people face as much or more discrimination than any group in the U.S. today and that they deserve protection.

Mayor Mick Cornett, Ward 6 Councilwoman Meg Salyer and Ward 8 Councilman Pat Ryan did not speak on the matter at length.