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Carlisle Council OKs human relations ordinance
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Carlisle Council OKs human relations ordinance

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The Carlisle Borough Council approved the controversial Human Relations Ordinance 5-2 Thursday night in a packed council chamber.

Council members Perry Heath and Connie Bires voted against the ordinance.

The ordinance, which has been debated for six months, is intended to foster equality and equal opportunity with a volunteer human relations commission, a complaint procedure and a mediation process.

It makes it unlawful for anyone to engage in discrimination related to employment, housing and commercial property or any public accommodation where it is not currently prohibited by other state or federal laws.

Pennsylvania's Human Relations Act — which the ordinance largely mirrors — currently provides these protections, including protection from discrimination at public accommodations, to all of these classes of people except sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.

Carlisle's proposed ordinance would expand protection to those three groups.

The ordinance defines “public accommodation” as the ability of an individual to access food, beverages, lodging, resort or amusement “which is open to, accepts or solicits the patronage of the general public.” It does not apply to accommodations that are, by nature, “distinctly private."

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