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Attempts to ban discrimination spreading across Indiana

As far as the law is concerned, discrimination is a relatively recent phenomenon. Most middle-aged adults can remember a time where ordinances preventing interracial marriage were enacted while rules prohibiting discrimination based on race, gender or lifestyle choices were almost non-existent. And if such prohibitions existed at all, it was mainly confined to large urban areas. This situation is now changing.

Evansville, bordering along the Kentucky border, has taken additional steps to eliminate such discrimination by amending a prior ordinance outlawing discriminatory practices by adding language concerning sexual orientation, age, disability and gender identity. The changes would prohibit any such discrimination based on any of these categories in the areas of education, employment, public accommodations, housing and rent.

Prior to this language being added, complaints concerning any of these categories were automatically sent on to the Indianapolis Human Rights Commission since Evansville had no enforcement committee to address such discrimination. The passing of this new language now puts Evansville on par with the larger Indiana communities like Indianapolis.

Federal legislation has already been passed dealing with race, age disability and gender discrimination. Hopefully such local ordinances like this passed by Indianapolis, Evansville and other Indiana communities will complement federal and state regulations that, unfortunately, have not always been enforced on a local level. In the past, when such regulations were ignored, parties discriminated against had little recourse other than go to the courts in an effort to put a stop to discriminatory practices.

Hopefully, people are beginning to understand the damage that discrimination has done and are now taking additional efforts to alleviate it.

Source: Tristate, "Evansville Makes Changes to Discrimination Law," by Tabnie Dozier, Nov. 30, 2011

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