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Iowa city proposes pro-gay antidiscrimination law

Iowa city proposes pro-gay antidiscrimination law

A human rights commission subcommittee in Dubuque, Iowa, is carefully drafting a revision of the city's antidiscrimination code that extends discrimination protection to gays and lesbians. "This is a long-range project," said Bill Ross, a subcommittee member. He said it could be several months before the group is ready to bring a recommendation to a vote. He added that the subcommittee will spend the next few months collecting testimonials to gauge the impact of discrimination against gay and lesbian residents. The material will be used to put together a booklet containing testimonials and statistics concerning discrimination complaints. Kelly Larson, Dubuque's human rights director, said her department has spent the past year tracking incidents of discrimination against gay men and lesbians. She said her office has received only two complaints, but she acknowledges that the complainants find themselves in a kind of catch-22. "I think it's reasonably well-known among the gay and lesbian community that it's not something covered under our local or state or federal law," she said. In 1999 the city's human rights commission approved a recommendation that discrimination protection be extended to gays and lesbians, but the measure failed 5-2. Five Iowa cities, including Ames, Cedar Rapids, and Iowa City, do have such ordinances.

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