OKC Council Passes LGBTQ Housing Protections
OKLAHOMA CITY - Oklahoma City is taking steps to better protect the gay and lesbian community from discrimination when it comes to housing.
After a long, and at times, heated debate, city council voted to add "LGBT" to the books.
LGBT stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.
Oklahoma City has discrimination laws when it comes to housing.
The new ordinance adds LGBT to race, ethnicity, age or any other factors that people feel has wrongly cost them when getting a home.
“It was a closer vote than we could have liked, but it was a good day,” said Troy Stevenson with Freedom Oklahoma.
“I think making sure somebody has a home is probably the most important thing our government could do,” said Amanda McClain-Snipes, a gay Oklahoma City resident who addressed the city council Tuesday.
In a 5-4 vote Tuesday morning, the city council adopted an amendment that states, no person can refuse to sell, lease or rent any housing or real estate, refuse to negotiate and or solicit or induce any person based on sexual orientation or gender.
Council members opposed to the ordinance brought up the example of a property owner not wanting to rent out their above garage apartment to someone living a lifestyle they disagree with based on their own religious beliefs.
“I don’t think we really addressed their rights as individual citizens,” said David Greenwell, who voted against the ordinance.
Greenwell said he felt the council should have delayed the vote on the ordinance until council members could do more research on the issue.
Councilmen Greenwell, Greiner, Stonecipher and McAtee voted against the new ordinance.
Council members Pettis, Shadid, Salyer and White along with Mayor Mick Cornett voted in favor of the ordinance.
“To a certain extent, this has to do with image of the city. Are we accepting as a city? Are we a city that is open-minded and I believe we are,” Cornett said.
In 30 days, the ordinance will officially be added to the city’s housing policy.
Tuesday's vote comes as an amendment attached to new language in an ordinance the city must pass to continue receiving housing grants from HUD.