The city of Fort Worth voted in favor
of outlawing transgender discrimination during a heated City Council
meeting on Tuesday, the Star-Telegram reported. The city's
anti-discrimination ordinance already protects based on race, sex,
religion and sexual orientation in the areas of housing, employment
and public accommodations.
The 6-3 vote came late after a day of
heated rhetoric on several additional gay rights proposals, including
extending benefits to the spouses of gay city employees.
Also being considered are ordinances
that would consider a company's record on gay rights when approving
tax breaks and adding gender reassignment surgery to the city's
health insurance plan.
The measures are being floated after a
June raid on a gay bar, the Rainbow Lounge, that created a firestorm
of protest from the gay community. Police stormed the bar with paddy
wagons in tow and arrested six people for public intoxication.
Patrons say excessive force was used during the bar check and two men
were treated for serious injuries. A
recently released police report on the use of force cleared officers
of wrongdoing and prompted renewed calls by gay activists for an
Conservatives showed up Tuesday to
protest the measures.
“I'm not sure that providing a
benefit for sex change operations or providing a domestic partner
benefit, I'm not sure that that fixes what happened at the Rainbow
Lounge,” Stephanie Klick, chairwoman of the Tarrant County
Republican Party, told the paper.
Klick called the measures a “spending
spree” the city could not afford.
“Being a transgender person has
nothing to do with a person's ability to do their job,” Victoria
Van Fleet, a transgender woman, testified.
Conservatives called the proposals an
affront on traditional morals. “Is it our city's responsibility to
take taxpayer money and promote a lifestyle based on sexual
preference or gender identity?” asked Richard Clough, a
Outside, members of the Dallas-based
Queer LiberAction group protested the police raid on the Rainbow
Lounge. They called the 1-to-3 day suspensions given to police
officers too light a punishment.
On Tuesday, with the endorsement of the
Mormon Church, Salt
Lake City became the first city in the state of Utah to approve an
anti-discrimination law based on sexual orientation and gender