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Albuquerque expands definition of discrimination to include more protected groups

Albuquerque city hall
Roberto E. Rosales
City Desk ABQ
Albuquerque city hall

Albuquerque’s City Council voted to expand the city’s definition of discrimination Monday to address pregnancy, disabilities and gender and sexuality.

The changes are meant to put the city in line with state guidelines.

Tammy Fiebelkorn sponsored the new ordinance, which was brought by Albuquerque’s Human Rights Board.

Board chair Anami Dass helped write the new changes. Federaland state laws already cover the same ground, but she said this gives residents a quicker option that usually doesn’t require them to hire a lawyer.

“The state processes take six months just to even call you back. Once you file a complaint for discrimination with the city, we call you back within 10 days and most folks have their cases entirely handled within 90 days,” Dass said.

She also said it’s good to have in place in case federal or state lawmakers roll protections back.

The city’s Human Rights Ordinance already prohibits discrimination based on race, religion, sex, age and other factors.

The new language passed unanimously builds on that to include protection against discrimination based on gender, gender identity, sexual orientation and pregnancy or childbirth.

It also updates outdated wording around disabilities and includes mental disabilities in its definition.

The new ordinance passed with one amendment: to remove “sex assigned at birth” from the protected categories. Councilor Dan Champine proposed it, arguing that it didn’t match the state statute.

“I don't believe that the additional definition is necessary to accomplish the goal here of protecting people based on their gender or gender identities,” he said.

That passed 5-4.

This coverage is made possible by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and KUNM listeners. 

Megan Myscofski is a reporter with KUNM's Poverty and Public Health Project.
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