Tulsa City Council Approves Sexual Orientation Policy; Rejects Immigration Ordinance

Thursday, June 17th 2010, 9:49 am
By: News On 6

By Emory Bryan, The News on 6

TULSA, OK -- Before a packed house Thursday night, The Tulsa City Council approved a new employment policy prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation.  The policy applies to city employees in every aspect of employment.

The expansion adds sexual orientation to a list of protected classes that already includes race, sex, religion, ancestry, age and disability.

Read the policy on sexual orientation

"The policy does not just apply to homosexuals, everybody has a sexual orientation," said Councilor GT Bynum, who introduced the measure. "If a straight city employee has a gay supervisor, this would protect him just the same."

"The government has no business in your bedroom. But your bedroom has no place in the government. I cannot support this because it will result in more lawsuits against the city of Tulsa" said Councilor John Eagleton.

It was approved by a vote of 6-3.

Councilors GT Bynum, Jack Henderson, Bill Christiansen, Chris Trail, Maria Barnes and Roscoe Turner voted for the policy.

Councilors John Eagleton, Rick Westcott and Jim Mautino voted against the policy.

The Tulsa City Council voted down a new city policy requiring citizenship screening for employees. The measure mirrored the court approved portions of state law requiring private employers to verify the citizenship status of employees.

Read the proposed immigration ordinance

The measure would have created city level policy requiring city government to verify citizenship status of new employees, contractors and subcontractors. Even though federal and state laws already require verification, several councilors believe that city contractors are using illegal immigrants as labor on city projects.

The Federal "E-Verify" law does not allow pre-screening of potential employees, only the verification of status of employees who have already been offered jobs.

The council listened to public comment on the policy for just over an hour before their discussion and vote.

6/15/2010 Related story: Tulsa Group Says Immigration Enforcement Is A Federal Thing, Not The City's Concern