Shreveport, LA (KMSS) — December 10, the Shreveport City Council voted to end discrimination based on sexual preferential or identity. The vote was 6 to 1, with Ron Webb as the lone dissenting vote.
10 days later, Webb introduced his own ordinance to repeal the Fairness ordinance. Other council members didn't agree with Webb's ordinance, but they allowed him to introduce it. Tuesday afternoon, council members were scheduled to vote on Webb's proposal, but that vote never came.
Dozens of people came forward to speak on why the Fairness Ordinance is important for Shreveport. Only one person spoke against the ordinance. Webb listened to all the public comments, but it was a transsexual woman who got everyone's attention.
Pamela Raintee spoke on how she has been discriminated against, and how proud she was of Shreveport when the council voted to end discrimination. Raintree ended her comments by quoting from the Bible and offering a stone to Webb, so that he could throw the first stone. Shortly after Raintree's testimony, Webb moved to withdraw his proposal to repeal the Fairness Ordinance. His withdrawal motion received support and was unanimously approved.
The Fairness Ordinance ends discrimination from employment, housing and public accommodations based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
“As co-chairs of the Be Fair Shreveport campaign, Odessa Sykes of Forum for Equality and I are grateful for the goodwill of so many business, civic, and political leaders who have supported our work in Shreveport. They have made it clear that they want our city to be forward-looking so we can begin to end the exodus of our most talented young people to cities that thrive on diversity,” Critcher said.
Forum for Equality Executive Director SarahJane Brady is hopeful other local governments will follow Shreveport's lead. “We hope other cities in Louisiana, as well as our state legislature, will be encouraged to join Shreveport in enacting laws that send a strong message that Louisiana does not discriminate but welcomes all who want to work hard and build a good life here. No one should live in fear of losing their job or being evicted simply for being who they are, and in Shreveport, no one will.”