A city council meeting that lasted nearly six and a half hours yielded a new ordinance to ban discrimination in matters of sexual orientation and gender identity.
From the outset, this meeting felt like meetings past. It consisted of a room full of citizens using democratic channels to share their view of proposed changes to local law. One of the biggest issues on the last draft of the ordinance was the bathroom concern, specifically who uses which, when in a public setting. Last time around it was the opponents of the ordinance that disliked the public accommodation parts of the ordinance. Many more opposed the new provision allowing the state issued driver's license to decide which bathroom one could go into. Ultimately the council removed that section from the ordinance.
The council also removed the section that allowed employers with fewer than five employees to discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
Public testimony lasted until roughly 11 PM. It was followed by sometimes contentious debate between city council members and the mayor. Sometimes they argued over procedure. At other times they argued over what to do with the requirement of public accommodations and the transgender community.
Compared to the previous ordinance, Steve Brown is the council member who changed his vote. With Brown throwing his support behind the non-discrimination ordinance, it left Jim Johnston and Craig Cooper as the only members voting against the measure. Mayor Brian Blad did not have to vote since there was no tie in voting. Council members Moore, Bray and Johnson-Nye also supported the measure.
It was clear that Roger Bray felt he could find an ally in Steve Brown. The two talked almost exclusively about ways to resolve differences in the language regarding mediation, bathroom accommodations for transgendered individuals and requirements for small businesses. Brown and Bray came to a consensus which cleared the way for the passage of the ordinance.