HUMAN RIGHTS ORDINANCE

COREY LEUTERS ’19 | STAFF WRITER • On May 27, 2015, Mayor Todd Barton ’00 announced the creation of Human Rights Commission due to the number of concerns voiced to the Mayor’s office about human rights issues within the Crawfordsville community. These concerns catalyzed the office to evaluate current human rights ordinances and begin reforming the Human Rights Commission.

The commission looks to add sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes of discrimination in education, employment, businesses, public conveniences, and accommodations. Current protected classes under § 94.01 (B) and (C) of the 1979 ordinance include: race, religion, color, sex, age, handicap, national origin, or ancestry. 39 years later, the newly formed commission proposed an amendment to the City Council Petitions & Ordinances Committee on February 5th, where it passed unanimously, sending it to its first reading at the City Council meeting the following Monday. After brief discussion amongst the council members and the audience, the ordinance passed unanimously in its first reading and will be up for a second and third reading next month.

The purpose of this ordinance aims to formalize a way of life that Crawfordsville has already been operating under as Barton puts it.

“The largest impact is the clear signal that Crawfordsville is an opening community,” Barton said. “It doesn’t change how the city operates, because we already operate in such a manner.” When it comes to fostering a community that welcomes young-professionals and families, “People are savvy in how they do their research and homework about communities,” Barton said.” “People want to know that even if states haven’t addressed the issue, they want to know that local bodies have.” Barton strives for the similar goal of the Stellar Grant, which the city received two years ago, aiming to attract a wider range of young professionals and developing a more suitable economy and community for those prospective citizens. If passed in both readings next month, Crawfordsville will become the eighth city in the state of Indiana to have formalized anti- discrimination laws for LGBT individuals, along with Bloomington, Evansville, Hammond, Indianapolis, Muncie, South Bend, and Terre Haute.

The Ordinance will be up for its second reading March 5, with the third reading to be held on March 12. Updates will follow shortly after.