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The Clarksville City Council has approved on its second and final reading an ordinance to protect the LGBTQ community from discrimination in regards to purchasing contracts.

The measure, sponsored by Councilmember Ashlee Evans, states the city will not deny, evaluate, modify, or cancel, or otherwise discriminate against any proposed contractor on the basis of race, color, religion, creed, sex, national origin, or on the basis of disability or age, sexual orientation or gender identity.

The first reading of the ordinance was approved in September.

At the Thursday, Oct. 7 regular meeting of the city council, Evans said she feels it’s important as a governing body to recognize diversity among the citizens of Clarksville.

“We have to make sure we’re intentionally including everybody,” Evans said. “This would make sure the city does not [avoid including] people we purchase from based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. This updates the verbiage in the code.”

Councilmember Wanda Allen agreed with the motion and said it’s a shame the city has to even include the words in the laws.

“Equal opportunity is just that,” Allen said. “It doesn’t matter who you are. It doesn’t matter what you do. You should have the equal opportunity of the same thing as anybody else. Your race, your gender identity, your sexual orientation … we should not have to put these words in our legislation to recognize what equal opportunity means.”

City Councilmember Wallace Redd said the country lives is at a time where people identify themselves at various points of life, namely changing their gender “on a whim.”

“We have a problem with this with as far as women’s sports are concerned,” Redd said. “Men just want to go in and play [in women’s sports] because of the high cost of scholarships and it’s become a problem.”

Redd said implementing gender equality was never to be part of a civil rights act such as race.

“It was never to be of a particular class, just because you say, ‘I identify as something,’” Redd said.

Redd added that if someone identifies as Napoléon Bonaparte, then he has the right to say he does not believe it.

Evans said Redd’s comments were hurtful to the community, stating his comments as being “transphobic and homophobic.” She added that his opinions were wrong.

“Your religion is a choice,” Evans said. “Me, being queer, is not.”

Allen also referred to Redd’s comments as “homophobic.”

“We should not have to add this language, but in our society, we do because of the homophobic comments made in this council chambers today,” Allen said.

The ordinance passed second reading 12-1. Redd was the lone ‘no’ vote.

The council also approved 12-1, with Redd in opposition, a similar amending of the city’s code relative to equal employment opportunity.

This article originally ran on mainstreetclarksville.com.

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