Memphis is considering an ordinance
that would protect city workers against discrimination based on
sexual orientation, Memphis ABC affiliate Eye Witness News 24
Lawmakers won't take a final vote on
the measure for four to six weeks, but opposition to the bill is
“It is going to discriminate against
people who are Christians,” Dr. Steve Gaines, a pastor at Bellevue
Baptist Church, said. “And I believe with all my heart that they
have rights too.”
Memphis Councilwoman Janis Fullilove
said as a Christian woman she backs the ordinance.
“I'm a Christian and I don't feel
that this ordinance would discriminate against me or any other
Christian,” she said.
But Fullilove did acknowledge that she
anticipated the church would oppose the bill: “I knew initially
that there was going to be some opposition, and especially from the
Also on the table is a separate measure
that would extend the anti-discriminatory policy to anyone doing
business with the city. That proposal is expected to be introduced
within the next two weeks.
Gaines said he and his supporters
oppose both measures.
“We believe this ordinance and this
resolution should be opposed. And if it's not opposed it's going to
be very divisive and discriminatory against many faith-based people
in Memphis and Shelby County,” he said.
Memphis has been rocked
by a string of unsolved transgender murders and the
gay community has been the target of vandalism in recent years.