Columbus adds sexual orientation to human rights ordinance

(WISH Photo/Laura Kennedy)

COLUMBUS, Ind. (AP) — The Columbus City Council has approved amendments to the Indiana city’s human rights ordinance adding gender identity, sexual orientation, age and veteran status as protected classes.

The Tuesday vote by the all-Republican body was unanimous. The ordinance now goes to Mayor Kristen Brown for her signature.

Sexual orientation isn’t included in Indiana’s civil rights laws, but several other cities are considering adding such protections under local ordinances following the national outcry that erupted after Gov. Mike Pence signed the state’s religious objections law in late March.

Democratic lawmakers say they will push during next year’s legislative session for amending the state civil rights laws to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

Pence grew up in Columbus and represented the city as part of his U.S. House district for 12 years before his election as governor in 2012. He has said he doesn’t tolerate discrimination against anyone. But he and Republican legislative leaders haven’t indicated support for putting protections for sexual orientation in state law.

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