Commissioner Amanda Fritz listens to testimony at City Hall in Portland, Ore., Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019.

Commissioner Amanda Fritz listens to testimony at City Hall in Portland, Ore., Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019.

Bradley W. Parks/OPB

Portland is the second city in the United States to adopt legal protections for atheists and agnostics.

The Portland City Council voted unanimously Wednesday for Commissioner Amanda Fritz’s plan to extend the protections against religious discrimination in the city’s civil rights code to people who do not believe in a god or gods. Mayor Ted Wheeler was absent for the vote.

Thirty-one percent of Oregonians identify as religiously unaffiliated, according to the Pew Research Center.

“The proposed changes to our civil rights code may seem like a minor tweak, but they are significant for the many many Portlanders who identify as non-religious,” Fritz said. “Remarkably, I have not received one email against this proposal.”

Portland’s civil rights statute bars employers, landlords and places of public accommodation from discriminating against a person on the basis of factors including race, religion, gender and age.

The city ordinance includes an exemption for religious facilities.  

Madison, Wisconsin, was the first city to adopt civil rights protections for atheists and agnostics.