Local News

Protections for LGBTQ Community Approved

(La Porte, IN) - More teeth have been added to protect the LBGTQ community in La Porte against discrimination.  The City Council adopted a revised human rights ordinance on Monday night, adding language to define more clearly discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.  The ordinance also requires city employees undergo diversity training every two-years and renames the city’s Human Rights Commission to the Diversity and Inclusion Committee.


The committee will consist of three members appointed by the mayor and two members named by the City Council.  City Councilman Tim Franke said the role of the committee will be to promote “inclusiveness and diversity within the city.”


Complaints will have to be taken to a judge outside the jurisdiction of the city or to the Indiana Human Rights Commission to be decided as they were previously.  The measure comes after City Councilman Roger Galloway told a member of the LGBTQ community during a public meeting on July 6 “you know that’s against The Bible...anybody ever read The Bible,” he said.


His remarks were met with considerable backlash from Mayor Tom Dermody and other members of the city council.  Galloway later apologized publicly and in private to the LGBTQ community.  Several residents spoke for and against the proposal before it was approved unanimously.


Larry Pinkerton said he agreed all citizens should be given equal opportunity but felt Galloway was an example of efforts nationwide to silence people of faith in violation of their freedom of speech rights.  He also felt the ordinance could become a tool for religious suppression.


“This is not just about making sure people with sexual identity issues are not bullied.  It’s about bullying religious people and shutting up their values and especially parental authority,” said Candace Wright.


Bill Lott said he wishes the measure was in place during a period when his son struggled greatly with his sexual orientation before coming out.  “You don’t choose to be gay.  You are who you are.  I was proven that when my son petrified, terrified, crying came to us to say dad I think I’m gay and I don’t want to disappoint you,” he said.


“I have friends and family who are parts of the LGBTQ community and I want my sons and my daughters to grow up in a more tolerant city,” said Blake Boardman.


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