The Clayton Board of Aldermen has amended the section of the city's municipal code relating to unlawful discrimination to now include discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Mayor Linda Goldstein said it was something the city had been considering for some time in addition to the idea for a domestic partnership registry.
City Manager Craig Owens said that while sexual orientation and gender identity are not specifically prohibited by federal discrimination in employment laws, there are legislative efforts underway to pass federal laws making discrimination based on sexual orientation illegal.
He said those efforts do not include language that would specifically prohibit discrimination based on gender identity. However, there have been successful arguments that discrimination on the basis of gender identity is a form of discrimination based on sex or disability.
Goldstein said she had received letters of support from both University City Councilman Terry Crow and Olivette Councilman Leif Hauser. Goldstein said both of those cities have already adopted ordinances similar to the Clayton ordinance and that both cites have also established domestic partnership registries.
Owens said he could have paperwork on a domestic partnership registry prepared within 30 days.
City Attorney Kevin O'Keefe said he was not aware of any challenges at the municipal level regarding actions such as the ones the city was taking.
Storefront Art Program
In other business, the aldermen decided to pursue a storefront art program, which will place art displays in the windows of vacant storefronts throughout the city. The intent is to bring additional art into the city and to draw attention to the buildings, hopefully leading to their eventual occupation.
Gary Carter, the city's economic developer, said there are 23 vacant spots in the city spread out along Clayton Road, the Hanley/Wydown area and in downtown Clayton, including in the Centene Building.
Carter said while there are several art galleries in the city, the program will focus on individual artists. Each display will be up for two months and artists will be allowed to sell their art afterwards. They will also be allowed to post contact information along with the art. "For Lease" or "For Sale" signs already in the windows will be allowed to stay.
At the urging of the aldermen, Carter said he would contact education institutions in the city such as the Clayton School District and Washington and Fontbonne universities to pursue student art to be included in the project.
Art would be selected by city staff and members of the Clayton Century Foundation. Carter expected there to be no cost other than staff time. He said similar programs exist in Kansas City and San Francisco.