LGBTQ rights organization proposes non-discrimination ordinance for Meridian

Rob Hill 

An organization working for LGBTQ civil rights is asking the city of Meridian to consider adopting a non-discrimination ordinance. 

Rob Hill, the state director of Human Rights Campaign Mississippi, said the ordinance would say the city does not tolerate discrimination on the basis of several categories, including race, religion, veteran status, sexual orientation or gender identity. 

“We know from polling data that the majority of Mississippians, regardless of whether they’re Republican or Democrat, agree that nobody should be fired from their job or kicked out of their home or their apartment or denied a house because of their sexual orientation or gender identity," Hill said, following a discussion at city hall Tuesday. 

“We want Meridian to send a clear statement that this community’s open for everybody and that everybody is welcome and that everybody is safe,” he said.

According to Hill, the cities of Jackson, Magnolia and Clarksdale have passed similar legislation. 

Elic Purvis, the owner of Jean's, a restaurant in downtown Meridian, said such an ordinance would benefit business owners and consumers. 

“This ordinance is something that’s kind of near and dear to me, being a gay business owner in Meridian," Purvis said. "It really does put us on a map that we haven’t been on before, just showing full inclusivity.”

Mayor Percy Bland said he would support an ordinance that is open and inclusive.

"We're going to try to move forward with that," he said, following the meeting. "I'm glad they came in and had a chance to talk to our council today."  

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