DeKalb County Board of Commissioners Passes Non-Discrimination Ordinance

Dekalb County

On July 11, DeKalb’s  Board of Commissioners passed a  Non-Discrimination Ordinance, strengthening protections for  vulnerable residents in unincorporated areas of the county.

The ordinance, along with a proclamation by DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond and the Board of Commissioners recognizing June as Pride Month and the ceremonial raising of the Pride Flag, demonstrates the county’s support for its LGBTQIA+ citizens.

“DeKalb County Governing Authority is committed to making the county an inclusive place for all to live, work and play,” CEO Thurmond said.

The passage of the ordinance comes at a pivotal moment when many people across the country feel vulnerable to discrimination, especially following the outcome of major higher court decisions. there has never been a more vital time to ensure all DeKalb residents feel safe and welcomed in their communities. 

“It is critical that we as leaders do everything within our power to make our county inclusive and welcoming, especially in such tumultuous times,” Commissioner Ted Terry said. “To say I am proud of the strides we are taking to achieve this would be an understatement.”

The Non-Discrimination Ordinance prohibits “the practice of discrimination against any person on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, age, disability, genetic information, familial status, political affiliation, political opinion, sexual orientation, parental status, gender identity, marital status, or protective hairstyle in places of public accommodation is contrary to the public welfare, health, safety, and morals of the residents of DeKalb County.”

Violation of this ordinance can result in a six-month suspension of a business license or, should they drive a taxi or other services, a suspension of their driver's permit.            

“Discriminating is wrong, and there is no place for discrimination of any kind in society,” District 4 Commissioner Steve Bradshaw said.

The ordinance was drafted in partnership with Georgia Equality, which has worked with several other Georgia municipalities, including Tucker, to pass similar ordinances.

“I thank Commissioner Terry for bringing this matter forward and wholeheartedly support these efforts to create a more inclusive and welcoming county for all residents,” District 2 Commissioner Michelle Long Spears said. “Adopting this legislation codifies diversity, equity and inclusion in the provision of public accommodations, housing and employment in our County.”

“DeKalb County has made history by unanimously passing the Non-Discrimination Ordinance,” said Commissioner Larry Johnson. “This law not only protects our constituents but also showcases the importance of equity for our county’s progress. It’s important to recognize and respect each other’s differences, as a diverse county is a thriving county, and that’s exactly what DeKalb is.”

The ordinance provides in-depth descriptions of the protected classes This includes adding and updating definitions for gender identity, marital status, parental status and other classes.