Council co-sponsors Scott Keller (R), Lance Langsford (R), Jackie Nytes (D), Vernon Brown (D), Dane Mahern (D), Duke Oliver (D), Rozelle Boyd (D), Angela Mansfield (D), Monroe Gray (D), JoAnn Sanders (D), King Ro Conley (D) and Greg Bowes (D) reintroduced the inclusive Indianapolis Human Rights Ordinance at last night's City-County Council meeting. The updated ordinance would include sexual orientation and gender identity protections as well as other modifications such as changing "handicapped" to "disability" and "Vietnam veteran" to "veteran status." The much needed changes will also bring Indianapolis up to current federal housing guidelines.
Last night's meeting started with a hiccup when vehemently anti-gay councilor Scott Schneider (R) tried to have the ordinance thrown out with a little-used procedural move. Schneider is part of the "Back Row 5," a group of Republican councilors with extreme far-right leanings.
Throughout the meeting, the five showed a crowd of Prop 622 supporters how rude and disrespectful they could be. Noted homophobe Ginny Cain (R) was noticed several times pointing at members of the public and giggling with her cohort Mike Speedy (R).
More than 100 supporters, sponsored by Indiana Equality Region 8, sat in attendance as council president Steve Talley (D) ruled against Schneider's brazen political play. Schneider's objection was based upon a little used parliamentary procedure by which new proposals may not be introduced in a special session that is called by the president. Talley ruled that the agenda was accepted by the council and the proposition was included in that agenda. He then put the question to vote by the entire council, which upheld his decision on a bi-partisan vote of 17-12.
The ever thoughtful minority leader, Dr. Phil Borst (R), reminded the president that this could portend legal problems for the ordinance should it eventually pass. Few believe that argument would hold much weight as the agenda for that session was adopted unanimously by the council. Perhaps Mr. Schneider should have dusted of his copy of Robert's Rules a little sooner.
Let's hope that those 17 fair-minded councilors that upheld president Talley's ruling keep that same balance when it comes time to vote for this ordinance.
Don't forget to visit the Indiana Equality Action Alert to send your councilor a message in support of basic rights for all Indianapolis residents.