Jackson city leaders have passed an ordinance that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
The ordinance will protect lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender residents of Jackson from discimination in employment, housing, or other services. It also adds gender identity to Jackson's hate crime code. The law was passed Tuesday evening with a unanimous vote.
Jackson will not tolerate discrimination is any form whether that be gender, race, sexual orientation, so forth and so on," says Ward Six City Coucilman Tyrone Hendrix. "Jackson is a place that we will ensure that it's open to any and everyone that wants to be in Jackson."
Mississippi as a whole has no legal prohibition of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. And earlier this year, state lawmakers passed a law that prohibited the state from taking any action against individuals or public servants who deny services to same-sex couples based on religious or philosophical beliefs.
But a scenario could likely take place that would place the city ordinance in contention with state law.
"Jackson may be able to withhold city permits for businesses that attempt to discriminate," says former Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Oliver Diaz. "The business owner will than try to push back by claiming their state rights are being infringed. I think you're going to be ultimately setup for a court battle for the courts to ultimately determine that."
Other Mississippi cities have passed resolutions supporting diversity, but Jackson is the first to actually put anti-LGBT-discrimination into law.