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Federal law bars discrimination

Natchez aldermen are considering an ordinance that on its surface would protect the rights of gay, lesbian and transgender people from discrimination.

The ordinance’s intent is good. No one should be allowed to discriminate against anyone. Period.

Not for their skin color.

Not because they are a man or a woman.

Not for their wealth — or lack thereof.

And certainly not because of their sexual orientation.

The ordinance, which is being pushed by a national civil rights group, was written in response to HB1523, the so-called religious freedom bill, signed into law by Gov. Phil Bryant in 2016. The law was unnecessary then and this new ordinance is unnecessary now.

Federal law already prohibits discrimination.

In a time when the city is clearly having trouble providing basic services to its citizens, spending energy and resources on an unnecessary ordinance is unwise.

Citizens may recall the trouble city leaders have had obtaining a new garbage contract before the old one goes away, following the city’s own rules for finding a developer for city property and practicing fiscal responsibility by living within their means.

Given their track record, city leaders have no business delving into matters of civil rights and discrimination law.

Rather than trying to stretch outside the bounds of their capabilities, city leaders would be wise to spend their efforts working on:

*Making our city safer and improve the quality of life through keeping the city cleaner, improving public spaces such as parks and playgrounds.

*Reducing city government overhead.

*Returning any money saved from overhead reduction to the taxpayers or invest the money into infrastructure projects that would increase the quality of life for all citizens.

Like many such city endeavors, their hearts are in the right place, but they trying to swing for the fences when what they need to be doing is working about getting a hit instead.