The DeKalb County Commission and special guests raised a Pride flag following the passage of the nondiscrimination ordinance. (Courtesy DeKalb County Board of Commissioners)

The DeKalb County Board of Commissioners unanimously passed a nondiscrimination ordinance at its Tuesday meeting.

Introduced by DeKalb County Presiding Officer and District 1 Commissioner Robert Patrick and Commissioner Lorraine Cochran-Johnson.

After the vote, the commissioners raised a Pride flag outside of the Manuel J. Maloof Government Center with DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond and local leaders, including State Rep. Karla Drenner, the first opening gay state representative, Doraville City Councilmember Stephe Koontz, a transgendered leader, Former Atlanta City Council President Cathy Woolard, Jeff Graham of Georgia Equality, and Former State Rep. Matthew Wilson who’s also current First Vice Chair of the Democratic Party of Georgia.

The ordinance declares the practice of discrimination against any person on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, age, disability, genetic information, familial status, marital status, political affiliation, political opinion, sexual orientation, parental status, gender identity, or protective hairstyle in places of public accommodation is contrary to the public welfare, health, safety, and morals of

Patrick praised the board for passage of the ordinance. “I’m very proud of the colleagues that I serve with. The ordinance talks about classes and groups of people, but those are family members, those are friends, those are our brothers and sisters. They’re our people. More often than not, when America comes together and starts talking about how we work together to get things done, we’re a better country and we do some amazing things together,” Commissioner Patrick said. 

“I wish we could say this vote takes care of it,” he said, but added the increasingly “unfriendly environment” makes that unlikely. “We just want to treat people fairly.”

The ordinance establishes that any business that is a place of public accommodation, or any owner, operator, lessee, manager, agent or employee of such business, may not refuse, deny or make a distinction, directly or indirectly, in offering its goods, services, facilities, and accommodations, to any person because of that person’s protected characteristics. 

For more on the ordinance, read it here on the Board of Commissioner’s website.

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.