Carmel committee tables discrimination ordinance

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CARMEL, Ind. (Sept. 17, 2015) - A council committee has tabled- at least for now- a hotly debated ordinance designed to protect gays and lesbians from discrimination.

The chair of the Finance, Administration and Rules Committee tabled the anti-discrimination ordinance Thursday night, saying the council still needed to work on the specifics.

“We are attempting to drag our feet and not pass a non-discrimination ordinance based on a lot of technicalities,” said council member Ron Carter. “That’s not sending the right message.”

“I’m glad the council tabled the ordinance, they did the right thing,” said Eric Miller with Advance America. “The mayor wants to discriminate against people of faith and that’s just not right.”

“It’s dividing the council and it’s dividing the community,” said council member Eric Seidensticker. “It’s a difficult issue.”

City Councilors decided last month not to vote on the proposal, but to send it to committee for further study.

The proposal was born in the wake of the controversy surrounding the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard proposed the ordinance and said it's meant to protect people from 12 categories of discrimination, including sexual orientation, age and disability. It fines people $500 per day for discrimination against someone else, with certain exemptions.

A majority of the people who showed up at the meeting last month spoke against the ordinance, citing religious beliefs.

But plenty of residents do side with Mayor Brainard, who argues it would promote a welcoming city and attract businesses and residents.

Even though it was tabled Thursday night- the council president could still try to take the measure back out of committee and bring it to a vote when the full council meets on Monday.