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This morning the city council in Oklahoma City voted 7-2 to add "sexual orientation" to the city's personnel anti-discrimination policy.

This comes three weeks after new council member Dr. Ed Shadid, undoubtedly the most progressive person ever elected to the council, or maybe any office in the state, introduced the resolution.

Oklahoma City government has a long and unsavory history of homophobia. Years ago, the human rights commission was disbanded because they knew it would face the gay rights advocates with challenges. In a separate incident, the city was forced to pay a significant amount of money after losing a case when they refused to allow a glbt group to hang banners on the light poles like dozens of other organizations could do.

The city library has face multiple incidents of folks demanding books be removed or hidden because of their pro-gay content.

And, of course, this being the buckle of the Bible Belt, there are countless occassions day after day when glbt persons are dehumanized, demeaned and discrimination.

Not to even mention Sally Kern.

So today's vote is a watershed moment that enlightened Oklahoma residents are savoring.

Breaking Oklahoman story

Why wait three weeks?

The backlash

My friend James Cooper's excellent two-part article on the history of the OKC gay community:
Part 1 | Part 2

The real travesty is that the council's only black member was one of the two NO votes and was very vocal that he did not believe such discrimination exists. He repeatedly remarked about the kidnapping and slavery his ancestors experienced in why he could not support the resolution. Obviously that history is shameful and its aftermath needed to be addressed by legislation. But to think that unless a class of people have the exact same history, instead a long (maybe historically longer?) history of discrimination that has a different manifestation, they are not worthy of protection, is just ridiculous.

He and those who made false, irrational, anti-scientific, religious-based arguments against the proposal, are a sad remnant of a different time in our country, and, now, in this city.

(I apologize in advance for the brevity of this report/diary, but I have to leave for the airport in less than an hour. I will also not be able to stay to engage in any dialog in comments.)

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