Birmingham, Ala. – On Tuesday, August 17, the Montgomery City Council voted against an ordinance that would have prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Since Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed announced his intention to introduce this ordinance, the Alabama Center for Law and Liberty (“ACLL”) had been urging the city council to reject it, warning that it would violate the First Amendment as applied to churches and people of faith and that it would risk exposing women and children to sexual predators.
Mayor Reed introduced the ordinance Tuesday night, reading it aloud instead of providing the public a copy in advance or putting it on the public agenda. Before the vote, Mayor Reed threatened to send businesses that were interested in doing business in Montgomery to Birmingham instead if the city council voted against the ordinance. Notwithstanding his threat, the council voted 5-4 to reject the ordinance. Councilors Jinright, Graham, Lyons, Grimes, and Pruitt voted against it, whereas councilors McInnis, Mitchell, Calhoun, and Johnson voted for it.
On July 19, 2021, ACLL sent a letter joined by six other conservative organizations to the city council. The letter explained that this ordinance, which was leaked to ACLL, would punish Montgomery’s religious population by forcing churches to let transgender people use the restroom of their choice, Christian small business owners in the wedding industry to cater to same-sex weddings, and Christian homeowners who rent their homes on Airbnb to allow sexual activity in their home that violates their religious beliefs. It also explained that under the terms of the ordinance, sexual predators would have permission to masquerade as transgender people to gain access to women’s and girls’ restrooms, locker rooms, and shower facilities.
“We commend Councilors Jinright, Graham, Lyons, Grimes, and Pruitt for voting to protect religious liberty and the safety of Montgomery’s women and children,” said Matt Clark, ACLL’s President. Clark added, “By voting against religious persecution and sexual assault, these councilors stopped the Capital of Dreams from becoming the Capital of Nightmares. We thank these councilors for voting to keep Montgomery safe and free.”
ACLL is a conservative nonprofit legal organization based in Birmingham, Alabama, and it is the litigation arm of the Alabama Policy Institute. For more information, visit ACLL’s website at alabamalawandliberty.org.