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Mayor Kim Driscoll Signs Salem’s Non-Discrimination Ordinance
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 4, 2014

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Kristian Hoysradt
Director of Constituent Services & Special Projects, LGBT Liaison
Office of Mayor Kimberley L. Driscoll, City of Salem
(978) 619-5601 | khoysradt@salem.com 

Mayor Kim Driscoll Signs Salem’s Non-Discrimination Ordinance
Becomes first North Shore community to extend protections in public accommodations for the transgender community

Salem, MA – Renowned for a tragic episode of discrimination and persecution in 1692, the City of Salem took the historic step of establishing an all-encompassing policy of non-discrimination Monday night.

Surrounded by members of the Salem City Council, the Salem No Place for Hate Committee, and dozens of Salem residents and representatives of supportive organizations, Mayor Kim Driscoll signed Salem’s non-discrimination ordinance into law following last week’s unanimous vote of the City Council.

“Salem is a City that welcomes all people who visit, live and work in our community – no matter who they are, where they are from, or who they are perceived to be,” said Mayor Driscoll. “There are no second-class citizens in Salem. We not only embrace diversity, we champion it. I am so proud that we were able to codify these values into our City’s laws to serve as a clear guidepost for future administrations, City Councils, and Salem generations to come.”

With the Mayor’s signature Salem becomes only the fifth community in Massachusetts and the first on the North Shore to extend protections against discrimination for the transgender community in the matter of public accommodations. Of the 17 states with statewide non-discrimination laws, Massachusetts is the only one to omit the public accommodations provision. This has led individual communities like Boston, Cambridge, Northampton, Amherst, and now Salem, to enact local safeguards for the transgender community.

“The lack of such a safeguard on the state level puts individuals at risk of being treated unfairly in many public settings where all should feel safe and secure,” said State Senator Joan Lovely and State Representative John Keenan in a joint letter of support to the Salem City Council. “The lack of this protection also sets Massachusetts behind other states that have already passed trans-inclusive non-discrimination laws. We are pleased that the City has prioritized this issue and is taking a leadership role in addressing it. As representatives of Salem in the state legislature, we stand ready to support you.”

The idea for this ordinance began last year with Salem’s No Place for Hate Committee, when the diversity committee discovered not only that Salem lacked a local non-discrimination ordinance, but that the state legislature had omitted the public accommodation provision from the state law.

“The mission of the No Place for Hate Committee is to mobilize citizens to combat bigotry and discrimination in Salem, while promoting the acceptance of diversity,” said Committee Chair Scott Weisberg.” We saw this ordinance as a way to rally the community, extend those vital protections where needed, and establish Salem once and for all as a community where there is absolutely no place for hate.”

“I’m proud of the City Council for passing this ordinance in swift, unanimous fashion,” said Council President Bob McCarthy. “The powerful and emotional testimony we heard in support of this ordinance from Salem residents and organizations paved the way for its ultimate passage. I’m honored to have served as the President of this City Council which decided to etch this policy of non-discrimination into stone.”

“This non-discrimination ordinance pays homage to the past, addresses today’s concerns, and prepares us for the future by making the circle bigger,” said Ward 4 City Councillor David Epply. “We are truly a ‘city of peace’ and this non-discrimination ordinance codifies that very real value already held in our hearts and minds. While I am the only openly LGBT member of the Salem City Council and one of the very few LGBT elected officials in Essex County, the fact that I may play a very small part in Salem’s long and storied past by making Salem a more inclusive and welcoming place for all, truly gives me chills.”

“Local ordinances like these are a fantastic achievement for local advocates, and push the state of transgender rights forward across the Commonwealth,” said Mason Dunn, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) and a member of the Massachusetts Transgender Equal Rights Coalition (MTERC). “The Salem City Council and the entire community should be immensely proud of this ordinance, and we hope to see ordinances like these continue to appear in towns and cities across Massachusetts.”

On February 6th, nearly 40 Salem organizations and individuals – many in attendance at the signing ceremony Monday night – testified in support of the ordinance before the City Council’s Committee on Ordinances, Licenses & Legal Affairs, chaired by Ward 7 Councillor Joseph O’Keefe, Sr. This coalition included:

State Senator Joan Lovely
State Representative John Keenan
Governor’s Councillor Eileen Duff
Salem Police Chief Paul Tucker
Salem State University President Patricia Maguire Meservey
Salem Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Rinus Oosthoek
Reverend Jeff Barz-Snell, The First Church of Salem, Unitarian
Reverend Laura Biddle, Salem State University Chaplain
Pastor Phil Wyman, The Gathering at Salem
Go Out Loud
HAWC (Healing Abuse, Working for Change)
Human Rights Campaign Boston
Independent Living Center of the North Shore & Cape Ann
Latino Leadership Coalition
MassEquality
Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC)
North East Transwomens Alliance (NETA)
Northeast Arc
North Shore Alliance of LGBT Youth (NAGLY)
North Shore Community Development Coalition
North Shore Elder Services & Over the Rainbow Coalition
North Shore Pride
Parents United of Salem
Proud Parents of the North Shore
Salem Award Foundation
Salem Commission on Disabilities
Salem No Place for Hate Committee
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Phone: 978-745-9595
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