Tulsa Councilors Vote To Protect Sexual Preference On Housing Ordinance

Friday, April 17th 2015, 11:17 pm
By: News On 6

The lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender community is one step closer to being included in the city of Tulsa's fair housing ordinance thanks to a unanimous city council vote; the next step is the mayor's approval.

The vote was to amend the current fair housing ordinance by making housing discrimination against people based on sexual orientation or gender identity illegal.

While the vote was a huge win for supporters, some Tulsans said it's wrong.

The LGBT community has waited a long time for the city of Tulsa councilors to approve a fair housing ordinance amendment, according to Toby Jenkins with Oklahomans for Equality.

4/9/2015 Related Story: City Councilor Wants To Stop Discrimination Against LGBT Home Buyers

"We've been asking for this for 40 years. These city councilmen showed they were brave and courageous," he said.

Under the current fair housing ordinance, age, race, religion and several other things can't be a factor in determining housing eligibility.

However, right now, renters have the ability to deny housing to someone based on their sexual preference; that will end if the mayor approves the proposed changes.

"We want a home-run so we can have a home," Jenkins said.

During the council meeting Thursday night, amendment supporters were there, but so were people like Don and Monalisa Ailsworth, who are against the proposed change.

"Stop, it's crazy. Don't let it happen," Monalisa said.

The Ailsworths took a religious stand, saying an amendment like this will force people to go against beliefs to make someone else feel comfortable.

The couple believes everyone deserves a place to live, but forcing the amendment won't help the problem.

"Right doesn't mean you take away my right so they can have a right, that's not right for you to tell me I've got to rent to these people," Don said.

Monalisa said, "Instead of saying ‘Oh, fine I understand that, I'll just go over here,' instead of doing that the majority of people who are in that lifestyle get angry, get bent out of shape and say ‘You know what, you are a hateful person.'"

If the amendment fails to make it through Mayor Dewey Bartlett's office, supporters said they will keep trying.

There are religious exemptions built into the amendment proposal.

The mayor is expected to get the proposal by Monday and he'll have 15 days to approve or deny it. If he does nothing, the amendment will automatically be implemented.