St. Joseph County Council set to discuss LGBTQ protections Tuesday

LGBTQ protections have been the law in South Bend since 2012. Now, the county it lies in is set to pass its own set of protections.

A new Human Rights Ordinance is set to be discussed Tuesday. It would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, according to the South Bend Tribune.

It also declares some new “civil rights”, including giving LGBTQs equal access to education and employment. It also seeks to offer fair access to accommodations and housing, whether someone is buying or renting real estate.

The ordinance would be more strict than South Bend’s. It exempts 501(c)3 nonprofits, private membership clubs, state governmental entities, and other groups, such as schools, that hire employees of a particular religion. For instance, the University of Notre Dame is exempt in the new law, as it is South Bend’s.

Eli Williams is the executive director of the LGBTQ Center in South Bend. She told the South Bend Tribune that, while she calls the bill “crucial”, she expressed concerns about the expanded exemptions.

The first reading will be Tuesday. Public comment likely won’t come until the day of the final vote, which likely will be Nov. 15.

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