Amanda Scott, Founder of Mobile Equality, wrote an opinion editorial for the Mobile Press-Register / Alabama Media Group on why the City of Mobile, Alabama needs a comprehensive LGBT nondiscrimination ordinance.
Last year the City of Mobile was ranked the most LGBT-friendly city in the state of Alabama by the largest LGBT rights organization.
According to the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index, Mobile scored a total of 21 points out of 100 points compared 17 points for Huntsville, 15 for Montgomery, 10 for Tuscaloosa and 9 for Birmingham. Mobile received 10 out of 10 points for reporting hate crimes statistics to the FBI, seven out of seven points for having a human rights commission, two out of five for public officials’ position on LGBT equality, and two bonus points for engaging with the local LGBT community.
We already have a large local lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community here in the City of Mobile. Every summer you can catch the annual Mobile Pride parade. On the weekend you can head downtown with your friends and grab a drink at B-Bob’s or Flip-Side. On Sunday you can even worship at OpenTable: United Church of Christ, Cornerstone Metropolitian Community Church and the Unitarian Fellowship of Mobile.
Despite Mobile’s reputation for being LGBT-friendly, our city does not have a nondiscrimination ordinance prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity and expression.
Employers operating within the city can legally fire employees because they are gay. Housing boards can deny housing to applicants because they are transgender. Owners of places of public accommodation can refuse to provide service to same-sex couples.
We cannot claim to be the most LGBT-friendly city in the state of Alabama whenever we fail to provide our LGBT residents with protection against discrimination.
That is why I have started a new organization called Mobile Equality. We are a coalition of local LGBT and ally groups, student clubs, churches and businesses that are dedicated to passing a comprehensive LGBT ordinance in Mobile.
Our proposed ordinance would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity and expression in employment, education, housing and places of public accommodation.
We have set up a petition on Change.org urging the Mobile City Council to adopt a comprehensive LGBT ordinance in the City of Mobile.
In less than three days, with no promotion outside of Facebook, over 220 residents of Mobile have signed their name, left comments and shared the link with their friends.
It’s clear: Mobile residents value our city’s reputation as the most LGBT-friendly and want to live up to it.
Now it is time for Mobile city officials to act.