Saturday’s Northfield News reported that two local attorneys have filed a complaint with the city’s Human Rights Commission, charging that the new rental code discriminates against unmarried and gay couples.
According to the News, attorneys David Hvistendahl and Britt Ackerman contend that the rental code is biased against non-traditional families.
Ironically, the much-discussed book Denison, Iowa introduces the town’s political process with the following passage: “On August 4, 2003, the Denison City Council had a third reading of “Ordinance #1237 Amending Zoning to Adopt A More Restrictive Definition of A Family”. The ordinance would limit the number of unrelated people living in a single-family dwelling to three persons.” The author implies that the ordinance was aimed at Latinos.
According to the book, only one citizen spoke against the ordinance, her concern was for disabled persons or single women who might being living together to save money. The council members responded that if there were problems, the ordinance could be amended later. They voted unanimously to pass the ordinance and get it on the books.
I do not wish to imply that the city staff or council, any local religious or neighborhood groups, or any ordinances (new or old), are in any way discriminatory against unmarried couples, gays and lesbians, Latinos and Somalians, Jews and Muslims, or communitarians and musicians trying to reduce their housing costs. Rather I just want to ask the question:
Wasn’t the HRC consulted when the rental code was being developed?