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April 7, 2006
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Volume 34
Issue 14
 
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Executive Sims signs Transgender protections into law
Executive Sims signs Transgender protections into law
"It was long overdue. It is not just good public policy, it is good people policy," said King County Executive Ron Sims.

King County Executive Ron Sims signed a historic measure today updating and standardizing the King County code to protect the rights of sexual minorities.

The County Council passed Ordinance 15399 on March 27, 2006.

The ordinance updates the King County code definition of sexual orientation to include gender identity, thus extending to all residents' existing protections against discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations and contracting. The change is similar to protections approved by the Washington State Legislature this year.

Sims first proposed the change two years ago and has continued to champion the need for equal protections for all county residents.

"It is a fundamental principle of American democracy, and a top priority of my administration, that we work to ensure that all residents enjoy the right to be free from discrimination," Sims said after the ordinance was passed. "I believe strongly in the idea of equal treatment under the law, and the passage of this ordinance will bring our laws in line with what the people of King County know to be the right thing to do."

The ordinance's passage also aligns the protections in King County's code with those in Pierce County, the City of Seattle, and the State of Washington.

Dow Constantine was among the five County Councilmembers who voted in support of the ordinance. "We don't have the power to ban bigotry," he said. "But we do have the power to ban discrimination. With the Executive's signature on this measure, we are setting the stage for bigotry to slowly abate."

"On behalf of all Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender people in King County, I want to thank Executive Sims, and the supporters on the County Council for their work on this," said Representative Ed Murray, who spent a decade tirelessly pushing for Gay anti-discrimination legislation in Olympia until it was finally passed earlier this year.

"This ordinance is the result of focused, compassionate work by residents, councilmembers, and county staff to ensure every person in our county receives equal treatment under the law," said Executive Sims in signing the ordinance. "It was long overdue. It is not just good public policy, it is good people policy."

The ordinance takes effect immediately. For copies, please contact the Clerk of the Council, at 206-296-1020.t



A King County press release

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