The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local and State News

September 16, 2013

Commission to consider protecting sexual orientation, gender identity

ENID, Okla. — City officials will vote Tuesday on whether to outlaw discrimination against sexual orientation and gender identity.

Under the proposal, employers in Enid could not fire, refuse to hire or otherwise discriminate against someone because of their sexual orientation. The ordinance also bans discrimination based on how someone perceives their own gender.

Enid City Commission meets in study session at 5 p.m. Tuesday with the regular session beginning at 6:30 p.m. Commissioners Ben Ezzell and Tammy Wilson introduced the ordinance.

According to a copy of the proposed changes, individuals would be protected from discrimination from employment agencies, labor organizations, training programs, in public accommodations and in buying a home. City Attorney Andrea Chism said Monday the ordinance, if passed, also would apply to virtually every business in Enid that has at least five employees.

Current protections exist in city law for age, race, color, religion, sex, national origin and handicap. There also existing are exceptions. For instance, an employer can make hiring choices based on bona fide qualifications necessary to complete the job. The ordinance also will not apply to employers who are immediate family members or those in domestic service.

Other exceptions include an allowance for those who wish to give preferential to those protected classes. An original homeowner also would not be bound by the rule. Religious institutions also appear to be exempted in school and housing situations.

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