Please support Portland ordinance to assure nonbelievers are protected against discrimination!

A city ordinance change that would extend religious civil rights protections to atheists and freethinkers is being considered by the Portland City Council and we need you to show your support.

In the city of Portland, the definition of what is included in the protected class of “religion” is unclear, leaving atheists and freethinkers vulnerable to discrimination. In such cases, City Code defers to State Code, where the inclusion of nonbelievers is also unclear. There currently stands no guarantee that all Oregon courts would determine that nonbelief is protected under the category of religion.

A proposed change to the city ordinance, initiated by FFRF — Portland Area Chapter and ACLU of Oregon and proposed by Commissioner Amanda Fritz’s office will assure equal protection for nonbelievers in the city of Portland against discrimination in employment, housing and accommodations. Please show your support for this important change!

Ways to support this ordinance change
Attend the City Council meeting
Date & Time: Wednesday, Feb. 13, 10:15 am (30 minutes requested)
Location: City Hall, 1221 SW Fourth Ave, Portland, Ore.

The general public may sign up to make a public comment (time limit of three minutes).

Individuals who are unable to attend Council meeting in person may watch it livestreamed here. The Council agenda is posted here.

Write a letter in support of the ordinance
Letters of support may be sent to [email protected]
In the subject line, include ‘Support for Non-Belief Ordinance’

Note: All letters must be received by Monday, Feb. 11, to allow time to provide the information to the City Council. Keep in mind that this is a City Ordinance and will only apply to the city of Portland.

Key talking points
· If you are representing an organization, give the organization name, its purpose, and size of the organization.
· The current code is unclear, opening the door for the courts to decide if nonbelievers are protected from discrimination in the same manner as those in a religion.
· Protection against discrimination is beneficial to Portland businesses and to all who live or do business in Portland.
· We are not asking for any special privileges. We are merely asking to be treated the same as those from a religion.
· Be brief. Remember that the invited guests will be providing background/support for this proposal. If you give public comment, respect the three-minute time limit.
· Be respectful. We are very pleased that the Council has worked with us on this issue

We are hoping for a display of widespread and strong support for the change! Your participation, by attending, giving public comment, and/or writing a letter is greatly appreciated! Let’s help make this change a reality!

Freedom From Religion Foundation

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