Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues are back on the city’s federal legislative agenda after a four-year absence.
On Tuesday night, the council unanimously gave support to a federal nondiscrimination law consistent with the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance, which prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
“It provides parity with what we do locally here — treating people equally and making this a community everyone is welcome in,” Councilwoman Ann Zadeh said. “We do that at the local level, and I want to show support for the state and federal level as well.”
The city started advocating for LGBT rights in its state and federal legislative agendas after the Rainbow Lounge incident.
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A police inspection of the Rainbow Lounge, a Fort Worth gay bar, in 2009 resulted in injuries to two bar patrons and a handful of arrests. The city then created a task force to study disparities in treatment and changed several city policies regarding LGBT issues. In November 2009, the task force report recommended that the city add those issues to its legislative work plans.
The federal legislative agenda came up for a council vote on Dec. 9, but Zadeh made the motion to delay approving it after David Mack Henderson, president of Fairness Fort Worth, told her that legislation seeking nondiscrimination laws for the LGBT community was not on the agenda.
“We are just asking for what we already had,” Henderson said.
“We had been frustrated that it fell of the radar, though I’m told that it wasn’t intentional. Still, any constituency wants to know that they matter, and we do. Fort Worth and other major cities in Texas are best represented with legislative packets that put our best foot forward and are progressive both for our citizens and for economic development.”
Zadeh said she would like to see the nondiscrimination legislation added the city’s agenda for the Texas legislative session, which begins next week.
Other issues on the city’s federal legislative agenda include support for the Trinity River Vision project and funding for TEX Rail.
Caty Hirst, 817-390-7984