Fargo Discusses LGBT Anti-Discrimination Ordinance - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Fargo Discusses LGBT Anti-Discrimination Ordinance

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Fargo's gay, lesbian and transgender community could soon see legal protection against discrimination.

A city commissioner told city leaders she's heard complaints and wants to do something about it.

There's a group already in place to prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender equality.

It's called the Human Relations Commission.

But, now that commission says they need help enforcing their message.

"When those people come forward and they share those stories it takes a lot of courage, and lot of people don't like to come forward because they fear that they're going to be discriminated against even more," Melissa Sobolik, Fargo City Commissioner, said.

Sobolik says the Human Relations Commission needs the power to prevent housing and employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

"They can discourage it but they have no authority to say anything or do anything about it."

She says she has first-hand reports of discrimination around town. Now, she's asking a city attorney to find out what can be done.

"Certainly, I would not be against looking into it and making sure that we're not the cause of discrimination in the city of Fargo," Brad Wimmer, City Commissioner, said.

The commission is backing the movement to keep equality a priority in Fargo. They say it's the next step to be a part of the national discussion,

"I think we're so close to Minnesota that we have people on both sides of the river looking at Fargo, looking in Moorhead, and when they're determining where to build their homes we want them to choose anywhere they want to live and feel safe," Sobolik said.

As it stands now, Fargo city employees are legally protected against discrimination in the workplace.

That's a law Grand Forks just passed about a month ago.

Now, Sobolik is asking what the city can do to expand that protection to anyone living in Fargo, not just at work but with housing as well.

The Human Relations Commission is going to work with the city attorney and come back to city hall in a few weeks with a proposal for an ordinance.

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