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December 19, 2008

Cleveland TG bill will move in January, says sponsor

Cleveland--A measure to add transgender people to the city’s non-discrimination code was delayed this month for more legal review, says its sponsor, not because of strong opposition to an unrelated domestic partner registry.

Council’s legislative committee approved both measures on December 1, and both were headed for the full chamber a week later. But the TG bill was taken off the agenda at about the same time as a group of ministers spoke out against the partner one. They are now promising to force a referendum on the registry, which council passed December 8.

The TG ordinance, introduced in August, will add gender identity to city codes barring discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodation. The phrase will be included everywhere in city law that other protected classes are currently listed, such as race, religion, sex and sexual orientation.

Ward 14 councilor Joe Santiago, the measure’s sponsor, said it will go ahead as planned.

Santiago said the protection of transgender people is different from the partner registry, and he is not expecting the same kind of backlash.

“This has to do with equal rights,” he said. “Nothing else.”

Santiago is Cleveland’s first openly gay elected official.

The measure would make Cleveland the sixth Ohio city to protect transgender people from discrimination, after Cincinnati, Oxford, Dayton, Toledo and Columbus, which passed its measure this week.

The TG bill’s delay produced speculation that it might somehow be related to the registry opposition.

But the measure was held back because the city law department isn’t finished with it yet, said city spokesperson Andrea Taylor, and it shouldn’t be interpreted as anything other than that.

“They are just doing a thorough review,” Taylor said, “It’s an internal review” which has taken a little longer than expected.

Santiago says he expects the ordinance to be ready to be voted on when council returns from its holiday recess in January.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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