Council takes no action on resident’s request

GREENFIELD — It’s been a month since a resident asked the Greenfield City Council to enact an anti-discrimination ordinance, but the request hasn’t come up at council meetings since.

The council has met twice since Catlin Jester of Greenfield asked members to consider an ordinance that would protect members of the local LGBT community from being treated differently based on their relationship status.

Council members did not discuss the request at either meeting.

Council president Gary McDaniel told the Daily Reporter Lester’s request hasn’t fallen on deaf ears — the council hasn’t taken any action, but it’s not ignoring a resident’s concern, he said.

He said he’s decided not to add it to the council’s agenda because he wants to wait and see how federal cases — including the most recent questioning of the legality of North Carolina’s transgender bathroom law — are resolved before he makes any decisions.

“I’m not sure how any of this is going to play out,” he said. “It’s a hot topic, and I have to wait and see how it all turns out.”

Lester’s request last month came on the heels of a story in the Daily Reporter about other communities in central Indiana adopting such ordinances. Kokomo joined Indianapolis, Bloomington, Evansville and several other Indiana cities by enacting a civil rights ordinance that protects LGBT individuals from discrimination based on sexual preference or identity.

Hancock County leaders told the Daily Reporter then crafting such an ordinance was not a priority for them because no residents had asked for one.

At the time he made the request, Lester said he moved with his boyfriend to the city about five years ago to be closer to family and to pursue higher education. Since then, they’ve married and bought a house in Greenfield. They want to ensure the city that’s become their home is welcoming to all, Lester said.

Lester gave the council a copy of Kokomo’s anti-discrimination ordinance, which was approved by its city council earlier this year. 

Copies of the ordinance were provided to each member of the council before the next meeting, April 27. But discussion about Lester’s request wasn’t on the agenda, and council members didn’t discuss Kokomo’s ordinance or whether one might be beneficial in Greenfield.

McDaniel said he and other council members have since reviewed the 18-page document.

Councilman Dan Riley said he thought the wording of the ordinance is convoluted, and if Greenfield planned to discuss such an ordinance further, he’d want legal counsel. 

For now, Riley doesn’t plan to bring the issue up for discussion. He said he doesn’t think it’s necessary.

Previously, council member John Patton agreed, saying he doesn’t consider discrimination to be a local problem.

Lester hasn’t attended a council meeting since he made the request.

Have your say

The Greenfield City Council meets at 7 p.m. on the first and third Wednesdays of the month at city hall. Meetings are open to the public, and residents are invited to petition the council to speak at a meeting about topics of concern.

For more information, contact your city council representative.

Gary McDaniel, District 1: 317-908-6399; gmcdaniel@greenfieldin.org

Mitch Pendlum, District 2: 317-462-3583; mpendlum@greenfieldin.org

John Patton, District 3: 317-490-6300; jpatton@greenfieldin.org

Jeff Lowder, District 4: 317-586-7247; jlowder@greenfieldin.org

Kerry Grass, District 5: 317-467-4970; ktgrass.council@comcast.net

Dan Riley, at-large: 317-462-0903; driley@greenfieldin.org

Joe Skvarenina, at-large: 317-518-1467; jskvarenina@greenfieldin.org

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Samm Quinn is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3275 or squinn@greenfieldreporter.com.