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Starkville, Miss. Repeals State's First Anti-Discrimination Ordinance

Starkville, Miss. Repeals State's First Anti-Discrimination Ordinance


While two city council members voted to continue supporting LGBT employees and their partners, they were overruled by five others in a closed-door session. Now, can the mayor veto it?

Starkville, Mississippi, the town that became the first in that state to pass an anti-discrimination resolution last year, repealed the law in a closed session earlier this week, according to Bilerico and the Commercial Dispatch. John M. Becker reports that the same lawmakers also rescinded a policy that extended health insurance coverage to same-sex domestic partners of city employees.

According to the Commercial Dispatch, Starkville Mayor Parker Wiseman "slammed aldermen Wednesday for removing LGBT-friendly policies without public debate and began the process vetoing the board's action. Five aldermen repealed the city's equality resolution -- a non-discrimination policy that included language protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees -- and ended its plus-one insurance option available to workers' same-sex partners after three hours of closed-door deliberations."

While the mayor has pledged a veto of the repeal, the paper reports that the alderman are able to override his order because the vote to repeal was five for repeal, two against repeal. Which alderman voted for the repeal, however, isn't public knowledge.

The Commercial Dispatch reported that while the city attorney Chris Latimer "advised staff to not disclose how individual aldermen voted," most assumed that Jason Walker and Scott Maynard, the two who originally argued for the extension of benefits to same-sex partners, were the only ones to vote to keep it. Both men confirmed to reporters that their stances in support of LGBT employees has not wavered.

That would mean the other five alderman voted against LGBT equality.

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