Portland Mayor Charlie Hales joins a group of his big city counterparts in opposition to “religious freedom” laws they see as anti-LGBT.
Mayors from around the country are forming a group called “Mayors Against Discrimination” in the wake of recent North Carolina and Mississippi laws they say are discriminatory.
“Our nation is made stronger when all Americans are treated equitably. Such blatant discrimination against our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender neighbors is unacceptable,” Hales said in a press release. “Portland stands in solidarity with community members, businesses, and Mayors Against Discrimination in support of the rights of our LGBT communities, no matter where they call home.”
The coalition that includes mayors from New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Philadelphia and other cities plans to explore prohibitions on contracting and purchasing from companies in those states in response to the new laws, which critics say discriminate against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.
Mississippi recently passed a law allowing religious groups and some private businesses to refuse service to gay couples. The North Carolina law prevents specific anti-discrimination rules for gay and transgender people for public accommodations and restroom use.
Supporters of the Mississippi law say it’s about protecting freedom of those who, for example, don’t want to perform same-sex weddings for religious reasons. Religious leaders and others have defended the North Carolina law, saying it protects women and children from men who use the law as a pretense to enter the wrong restroom.