In De Pere, Wisconsin, a new ordinance concerning transgender people will take effect on Thursday, March 8th, 2018. The ordinance was approved by the city council in November, but the date of implementation was delayed.
The ordinance prevents landlords, businesses and employers from discriminating against people for being transgender. A transgender person is someone whose gender and personal identity do not fit his or her physical gender at birth.
This ordinance is controversial and has received criticism. A lawsuit has been filed against it by a Christian-themed radio station and five local churches. They claim that it takes religious freedom away from people whose religious views invalidate the transgender lifestyle.
People who oppose the ordinance want either religious groups to be excluded from this policy, or a declaration of the law as unconstitutional. They say that the law will keep employers from properly running their organizations to the best of their abilities and beliefs.
The city council did not unanimously agree on the ordinance, which is why the implementation of the ordinance was delayed for so long.
There was a public presentation at De Pere City Hall by Stacie Christian, a staff member from UW-Greenbay. She spoke about the ordinance, a well as how to be more inclusive of LGBTQ people. The gathering at De Pere City Hall included about 20 people from both sides of the issue.
One of the people who originally proposed the ordinance, Alderman Casey Nelson, believes that the plaintiffs do not have a valid justification for their lawsuit because of the fact that there are already state and federal laws that allow them to be exempt from such policies.
Nelson’s conjecture subtly suggests that the there may be hateful reasons behind the lawsuit. However, to a certain extent, what Nelson said is wrong because sometimes the local ordinances are the ones that affect daily life more often and are sometimes thought to be more immediately important.