Albert Rukwaro
Special to The Gardner News
The LBGTQ non discriminatory ordinance will be placed on the agenda for the next council meeting, Steve Shute, mayor, announced during a council meeting Sept. 3.
Shute said he plans to have the item on the agenda for the purpose of putting it on the city’s next legislative agenda “because of the complexities of the matter and a lack of manpower by the city to adjudicate such an NDO.”
Susan Smith, Gardner resident, had earlier spoken to the council in opposition to the NDO, stating there were several reasons the city should not consider enacting it.
Smith, who spoke during the public comments section of the meeting, told the council that there have been some inflammatory comments made on a local social media platform about the NDO adding that “gay rights are still in question as to whether they are civil right.”
She said the federal Mathew Sheppard Act was already on the books, and she would rather the city waits for the state and federal government to act on additional protection for the LGBTQ communities.
“Who would enforce it, how would it be determined and who would pay the legal costs,” she asked.
The Mathew Sheppard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, also known as the Matthew Shepard Act, was signed into law by President Barrack Obama on Oct. 28, 2009.
Rich Melton, councilmember, said attempting to enact such as NDO is like passing an ordinance against murder at the city level.
“There’s no city ordinance against murder. There’s no expertise at the city level. It’s a matter for the state and the feds,” he said.
The next council meeting will be on Sept 16.