Thursday, March 5, 2015

Boynton Beach enacts civil-rights ordinance

That's why on Tuesday, the city approved a civil-rights ordinance that prohibits discrimination of Boynton Beach City residents because of "race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity or expression, genetic information, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, pregnancy, familial status, or age."
Boynton Beach's decision to enact a civil-rights ordinance puts it in line with other municipalities such as Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Lake Worth and Wellington, as well as Palm Beach County.

"This decision gives us the opportunity to say that there is another LGBT-welcoming place in Palm Beach County," said Rand Hoch, of the Palm Beach Human Rights Council.
The ordinance passed 4-to-1, with Mayor Jerry Taylor dissenting.
Taylor said he voted against the ordinance because of comments Hoch reportedly made about him in a media outlet. "The city has never been for discrimination," Taylor said. "But I am not voting for this based on principle."

Back in 2013, the city's community relations board contacted Hoch about drafting ordinances pertaining to the civil-rights ordinance and domestic partnerships. In October, in a 4-to-1 vote, the city approved domestic partnership benefits for city employees.

Commissioner David Merker said this vote and the city's past vote to allow domestic partnerships moves the city forward.

"It puts the city in the 21st century," he said. "It makes all people equal — not separated by race or religion or any other denominators."

Hoch, who is Palm Beach County's first openly gay judge, says that Boynton Beach is helping to make the area more liberal.

"It feels great to finally get this passed," he said. "Hopefully, we can get momentum from Boynton's decision and make the county a better place for Civil Rights." or 561-243-6648 or @attiyya_sun

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