Monday, October 31, 2016, 8:15 pm
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Christian business owners and others who hold traditional moral values dodged a bullet earlier this month, when the Greenwood City Council decided not to consider adopting an ordinance that would have stripped them of their right to conduct their business affairs in accord with their moral values and faith.
The ordinance, which was on the city council study agenda at its October 4th meeting, was styled as an "Unlawful Discrimination Ordinance." But it would have forced people who hold traditional moral values to carry on business with and support ideas and acts that are repugnant to them, including so-called gay marriages.
Mayor Carolyn McAdams described it to the council members at that meeting as follows:
"All it is, is remember when we did the non-discrimination resolution, when the governor signed off on the 1523 bill? This is just putting it in the form of an ordinance, and thatís entirely up to yíall, you can read through it and see if this is something you want to put in the form of an ordinance, to make it more forceful, strengthen the law, and make it a law in our city. Itís kind of mirrored after the one in Jackson, but we took out a lot Ė we donít have a lot of the committees that Jackson has. Read it and get back with me if you have any questions. Study it."
The Taxpayers Channel obtained a copy of the draft ordinance by filing a public records request with city clerk Nick Joseph. The draft ordinance may be seen here: Draft Ordinance.
The ordinance purported to declare that it was a "civil right" for persons to obtain services, employment, and housing without regard to, among other attributes, their "gender identity" or "sexual orientation." This would force business owners to accommodate to the desires of such persons regardless of whether their conduct was morally offensive to the proprietor.
For example, as has occurred in other communities where such ordinances have been adopted, a Christian baker or wedding photographer would be forced under this ordinance to provide services promoting and supporting "gay marriage" ceremonies, even when they were repugnant to the business person's moral scruples. Rooms or housing units would have to be rented to persons engaging in immoral conduct, with the owner having no say in whom he did business with.
The ordinance provided an exception for religious corporations, churches, and private clubs.
The ordinance purported to outlaw discrimination on the basis of age, but the fine print makes it clear that the ordinance did not protect young people from discrimination, and in fact enshrined "seniority" promotion schemes to protect age discrimination against younger employees.
The ordinance also claimed to outlaw discrimination on the basis of race and sex, but carved out an exception in the case of businesses who have affirmative action schemes that deliberately discriminate on the basis of race and/or sex.
As usual with such ordinances, it only applied to the business owners, and not the customers or consumers. Thus, the customers could continue to discriminate on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation, in deciding with whom they would do business. Only business owners were targeted by the ordinance.
The Taxpayers Channel asked Mayor McAdams who had proposed this ordinance, and whether it was still on the table for discussion. She responded to our questions with the following statement:
"The City of Greenwood was approached by representatives from the Human Rights Campaign, who requested that we consider passing an unlawful discrimination ordinance similar to that which the City of Jackson recently passed.
"The ordinance that was placed on the study agenda for consideration was adapted from the City of Jackson's ordinance, not by anyone who works for the City of Greenwood. After consideration of the proposed ordinance, it was the city council's opinion that the resolution that was passed several months ago was sufficient in stating the City's policy toward discrimination and that an ordinance was not necessary."
The City Council is to be commended for declining to adopt this ordinance, as it would have endangered the religious liberties of the citizens, and helped turn Greenwood into a community that would be unfriendly to Christians and others of conservative moral convictions.
John Pittman Hey
The Taxpayers Channel
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