The Oklahoma City Council voted to defer a measure Tuesday by Ward 2 Councilman Ed Shadid that would add sexual orientation to the city's list that protects people from employment discrimination in city jobs.
The council voted unanimously to delay a vote on the matter until Nov. 15. The measure would protect gay and bisexual people from employment discrimination in city offices.
The length of time that the measure was delayed was a subject of debate. Shadid voiced his desire for Mayor Mick Cornett, who was absent from Tuesday's meeting, to be at the meeting where the measure will be voted upon. And Ward 8 Councilman Pat Ryan said he wanted to be sure to be in attendance so he could vote in favor for it. But Ward 7 Councilman Skip Kelly said he didn't think it should matter if the mayor is able to attend.
The council eventually settled on Nov. 15 because the mayor and the rest of the council are expected to be in attendance and city staff said that would provide ample time to study the issue.
The city's equal employment opportunity ordinance now lists only classes protected by federal and state law, like gender, race, ethnic origin, religion, disability and political affiliation.
Discrimination based upon sexual orientation is not explicitly prohibited federally or in Oklahoma.
A memo from the city attorney's office explaining Shadid's proposal to the council notes that some jurisdictions consider language prohibiting discrimination based upon sex or gender to include sexual orientation.