Mayor Scott Signs Historic Bill To Expand Protections for LGBTQIA+ Community at City's Annual PRIDE Parade
Saturday Jun 24th, 2023
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BALTIMORE, MD. (Saturday, June 24, 2023) - Today, Mayor Brandon M. Scott, Councilman Kristerfer Burnett, LGBTQ Affairs Director Londyn Smith de Richelieu and City Officials came together at the city's annual PRIDE parade for a bill signing that expands protections for Baltimore's LGBTQIA+ community.
The bill, titled Unlawful Practices - Discrimination Based on Characteristics or Status, solidifies the City of Baltimore's commitment to protecting and upholding the rights of LGBTQIA+ individuals and building a more inclusive and equitable city for all residents.
"We believe in the inherent dignity and worth of every individual, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression," said Mayor Brandon M. Scott. "In a time when states and communities across the country are taking the regressive steps to eliminate protections, the City of Baltimore is taking the opposite approach and expanding them. Our city is dedicated to creating a space where LGBTQIA+ individuals are embraced, respected, and afforded the same rights and opportunities that everyone deserves."
With the assistance from LGBTQ Affairs Director Londyn Smith de Richelieu, Councilman Kristerfer Burnett introduced the bill during a City Council hearing that protects against discrimination to an individual regardless of the individual's HIV or AIDS status, other characteristics or status, or association with individuals with a particular characteristic or status. The bill also prohibits the willful and repeated use of the incorrect name or pronouns of an individual after clearly being informed of an individual's correct name and pronouns in employment, public accommodation, education, health and welfare agency, and housing settings.
"This is an essential piece of legislation that establishes certain legal protections on the individual rights of our LGBTQIA++ community members & other protected classes such as HIV/AIDS status. The LGBTQIA+ community faces an alarming amount of discrimination in many areas, including housing, employment, healthcare facilities, and even public accommodations such as restrooms," said Councilman Kristerfer Burnett. "This discrimination has devastating impacts on their lives and wellbeing, leading to job loss, homelessness, and even violence. This bill establishes additional protections to combat discrimination and ensure that LGBTQIA+ individuals have the same legal rights and protections as everyone else across our city."
The LGBTQIA+ community has long faced discrimination, marginalization, and denial of basic human rights. Under the Scott Administration, the first ever Mayor's Office of LGBTQ Affairs was created and led by Director Londyn Smith de Richelieu to eliminate discrimination and create a more inclusive environment by embracing differences and forging a more equitable and compassionate workplace.
In a powerful display of commitment to equality, Mayor Scott officially signed this latest bill amidst the vibrant celebrations of love, acceptance, and inclusivity that define PRIDE.
"We have taken progressive strides to eliminate barriers and promote equality for everyone," said LGBTQ Affairs Director Londyn Smith de Richelieu. "Discrimination, in any shape or form, has no place in our society, or in our city. It undermines the principles of fairness, justice and human rights that are the foundation of a harmonious and progressive society. I appreciate Mayor Scott for recognizing the imperative need to protect and promote equality for all individuals, irrespective of their race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, disability, or any other characteristic or status."
The bill signing at the PRIDE Parade served as a powerful symbol of hope and progress, not only for the City of Baltimore, but also for communities nationwide. It underscores Baltimore's position as a beacon of acceptance and a leader in the fight for LGBTQIA+ equality.