Civil rights ordinance the right thing to do

Congratulations to Hillsboro Mayor Tom Hughes and the Hillsboro City Council for unanimously passing a civil rights ordinance recently, protecting its GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender) residents from discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations. Comments from City Council members before voting included statements such as: we don't often get the opportunity to make a positive difference on social issues in Hillsboro; and, this is the most important thing I have been able to do during my time on this council.

It was short and sweet, the council chambers filled with supporters. The only speakers from the community, including a Lutheran pastor, were in support of the ordinance, and nary a protester.

Our exchange student, who accompanied me to the meeting, did not understand many of the specific words spoken, but at the end turned to me and said, 'A very good thing happened here tonight.' In the car on the way home, he struggled to find the right words to indicate his understanding: 'This doesn't sure (sic) that there will be no discrimination, but if there is, they (GLBT Hillsboro residents) have judgment of law on their side.' Exactly.

Hillsboro, understanding the value and importance of this ordinance, joins 10 other Oregon cities and counties, including Beaverton, in assuring all its residents the same rights and protections for a livable community. If the Oregon Legislature, after 32 years, has been unable to pass - or even bring to the floor for a vote - such protections statewide, then it's up to each community to do so individually for its citizens. The hope is certainly that Oregon will, ideally in the next legislative session, pass a statewide anti-discrimination policy that includes sexual orientation and gender identity.

In the meantime, which city or town will be next to step up and do the right thing?



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