During the annual U.S. Conference of Mayors Meeting, held this year in Boston, the group passed two LGBTQ-affirming resolutions, building on one approved last year and showing broad, bipartisan support for protecting the LGBTQ community from discrimination.
The first resolution concerned Title IX protections for transgender students in schools. For the past several years, transgender students across the country have had to fight in court for their right to use facilities that correspond to their gender identity. In 2016, the Obama administration approved and administered guidance to schools on how best to accommodate transgender students. However, in early 2017, President Donald Trump and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos rescinded this guidance, and DeVos later announced her department would not investigate claims of discrimination made by transgender students.
In the resolution, the mayors stated:
“The U.S. Conference of Mayors concurs that the Title IX prohibition against discrimination on the basis of sex includes, by definition, discrimination on the basis of gender identity, and strongly disagrees with the decision by the U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Justice to roll back protections against gender identity discrimination for vulnerable students.”
The second resolution passed concerned nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people, specifically religious carveouts around existing protections. The resolution comes following the Masterpiece Cakeshop Supreme Court case, which involved a Colorado bakery who refused service to a same-sex couple, with the owner claiming selling a cake to the couple would violate his religious beliefs. The Court stopped short of issuing a virtual license to discriminate, but ruled that in this specific case, the baker’s fight to free expression had been violated by the state’s Civil Rights Commission in their initial investigation and findings.
The mayors’ resolution stated, in part:
“The U.S. Conference of Mayors opposes the dangerous religious exemptions sought by the Masterpiece Cakeshop plaintiffs, and believes that maintaining the inclusiveness of our communities requires that public accommodations be open to everyone.”
The resolutions further add to the group’s already strong support for the LGBTQ community. During the 2017 conference, a resolution was approved supporting the efforts of mayors to use their resources to fight LGBTQ discrimination.
These resolutions were spearheaded by our Mayors Against LGBT Discrimination coalition, our group of over 300 mayors who have signed a pledge to combat discrimination in their communities. Mayors Against LGBT Discrimination is a program of Freedom for All Americans.