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Wharton On Anti Discrimination Ordinance

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. responded late Tuesday afternoon to the withdrawal of a non discrimination ordinance that was to be voted on by the City Council on the second of three readings.

The sponsor, Janis Fullilove, pulled it citing opposition from the administration.

Here is Wharton’s statement in full:

“Given the events that transpired today in the Personnel, Intergovernmental & Annexation Committee of the Memphis City Council, it is necessary to clarify my position on the issue of the non-discrimination ordinance.

“Allow me to be clear: throughout my career in public service, most recently as Shelby County Mayor when this same issue was under discussion by the County Commission, I have made it clear that I believe governments should focus on merit and merit alone in their hiring and purchasing policies. My vision is for Memphis to be a city of choice for all people, which means that our long-term economic strength will require all individuals, regardless of their personal creeds or viewpoints, to work together toward a shared vision of prosperity.

“Over the past several weeks, I have watched with great interest to see what direction the City Council will take. This discussion originated with them and will conclude with them. I will abide by my duty to support whatever actions they take. My hope is that they proceed in a way that aligns with our values of inclusiveness and non-discrimination.

“My beliefs or views on the subject have been clear and consistent throughout my entire life. I will not permit them to be mischaracterized by any group, individual, or elected body who seek a convenient excuse for not confronting the issue now that it is at hand.”

Comments

  1. msj558 says:

    I believe that a mayor should lead. If he believes that the city should have a non-discrimination ordinance for gays and lesbians he needs to use his office to push for it. The Shelby County ordinance that was passed last year mentioning “merit” was a cop-out. A way to try and pander to bigots while sending out a message that Memphis is not “backwards”. A gay rights bill that does not mention gays – nice try. Should we remove race, religion and creed from existing city laws and replace them with “merit”? No one is fooled here. The lack of leadership from the mayor hurts the city. Every major city in the USA already has anti-discrimination laws on the books for gay Americans. (Even Tulsa and Nashville) Every major company with a presence here (except Auto Zone) has gay friendly policies in place. What is the upside to perpetuating the stereotype of Memphis being a redneck backwards-dying city?

    The mayor is tossing the football back to the council – he is saying you brought this issue up not me – but a real leader leads – I see no leadership from the CEO of Memphis. Only duck and cover.

Dansette

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