Durham County Commissioners to vote on new nondiscrimination ordinance

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- The vote to ban discrimination in public places in Durham County will take place next Monday. County leaders say it's a long time coming

"It seemed like it's taken us too long to get it done. But we were really committed to doing the best job that we could possibly do," said Brenda Howerton. chair of the Durham County commissioners.

Howerton said there was no hesitation when it came to discussing this new ordinance for Durham County.

"An ordinance is a legal document. And this witness will give individuals just another layer of protection around employment," she said.

In the resolution, it says Durham County desires to safeguard the rights and opportunities of all persons to be free from discrimination in public accommodations and employment.

Jose Romero. who is gay, said he is very excited to hear the steps taken in his community to keep them protected

"I think it is some beautiful that in Durham we are lucky to have county commissioners where we are all represented by women, and they are leading this effort to fight discrimination. And I hope that translates into funding opportunities for community groups to be able to take part in this initiative," said Romero.

If passed the new ordinance would protect residents from discrimination based on age, disability, race, ethnicity, creed, color, sex, pregnancy, marital or familial status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin or ancestry, military status, and religious belief or non-belief.

Romero said he sees this ordinance as not only an opportunity for him to feel safe as a minority and member of the LGBTQ community but future generations as well

"With youth being able to see that some of this is going to be enacted means they will have opportunities to advocate for themselves and that's what I hope for," he said.

Howerton said the groundwork has been laid.

"This is an extension of that work that has already been done. So we're just following all those goals and commitments that the community worked for two years to put in place," she said. "And I say, This is just, this is one of them, that people came to us and demanded that we do."

The board plans to vote and approve this ordinance at its meeting Monday.
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