Nonbelievers in Portland, Ore., are feeling affirmed this week after the city council amended the city’s Civil Rights code to extend protection from discrimination to atheists, agnostics and other people who claim no religion.
“What it is is validating because my city thinks I am of the same value as any other individual, and it isn’t OK for somebody to discriminate against me or anybody like me,” said Cheryl Kolbe, president of the Portland-area chapter of the Freedom of Religion Foundation.
The Portland city code had already prohibited discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodation on the basis of race, religion, gender and national origin. However, Kolbe said religion wasn’t clearly defined, so one year ago she began advocating for a revision.
The idea, she said, was prompted by the Madison, Wisc., city council, which, in 2015, became the first city to vote to ban discrimination against atheism. Now Portland is the second city with such an ordinance.
“I always thought Portland would be a good place to try it, too, because we’re one of the least religiously affiliated cities in the country,” Kolbe said.
Portland’s protections against discrimination will now include “non-religion, such as atheism, agnosticism, and non-belief in God or gods as has been recognized by the courts,” according to published reports.
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Source: Religion News Service