LGBT residents of Jackson, Miss., now have citywide protection from discrimination in housing, employment, and public services.
Jackson's new ant-discrimination ordinance was passed by a unanimous vote of the City Council Tuesday evening, The Clarion-Ledger reports. Mississippi's capital and largest city made a loud statement to Republican Gov. Phil Bryant and other state leaders who in April passed one of the nation's most egregious anti-LGBT laws. That legislation, House Bill 1523, allows government officials to refuse marriage licenses to same-sex couples, grants the right of some businesses to turn away LGBT customers, and permits schools to dictate not only which facilities transgender students could use, but also what attire they can wear.
Regardless, Jackson's new ordidance is a huge step forward for one of the most conservative states in the nation. Whether there will be a statewide backlash — like what occurred when Charlotte, N.C., passed a now-defunct nondiscrimination ordinance — should be known soon.
"I think that this City Council along with the mayor have said repeatedly that Jackson is not a place that will tolerate discrimination of any kind," Councilman Tyrone Hendrix (pictured, above) told The Clarion Ledger. "Tonight's vote was just more evidence of our sentiments."