DUNWOODY, Ga. — Dunwoody is set to become the fourth city in Georgia to pass an anti-discrimination ordinance, following Chamblee and Doraville nearby.
The ordinance, proposed at the May 20 City Council meeting, would specifically protect civil rights in cases with an employer, involving housing and accommodations, the sale of property and engaging with any business regardless of “person’s actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability, marital status, familial status, or veteran/military status.”
Councilmembers John Heneghan and Pam Talmadge proposed the ordinance and performed the first read. The ordinance will now move to the council’s June 10 agenda for a second read and consideration for formal adoption.
“We believe that this proposed city ordinance fosters equal treatment by upholding the values of equality, inclusion, and diversity for all within the City of Dunwoody,” Heneghan wrote in a May 15 blog post.
The ordinance is one of the strongest pieces of legislation from the city protecting LGBTQ+ rights and prevents businesses from refusing to serve a customer for religious reasons. The council did not debate the ordinance — no council members spoke other than Heneghan and Talmadge. There were no public comments after the read, but Heneghan said later that this was because there was no dissent among council members.
“It’s a slam dunk, let’s vote on it,” he said.
The ordinance also has penalties for hate crimes with a fine of $500 set for the first offense and $1,000 for each offense thereafter. The city’s hearing officer would hear such cases and determine if a violation occurred. Law enforcement will continue to receive training involving departmental policies on proper identification, investigation, documentation and reporting of hate crimes. Dunwoody will send data regarding the reporting of hate crimes to the FBI.
“We as a city should let it be known that we stand not only for equality but against all forms of hate,” Heneghan wrote.