Folly Beach Adopts Non-Discrimination Ordinance

 The city council of Folly Beach, South Carolina voted unanimously Tuesday to pass a non-discrimination ordinance with protections based on sexual orientation, becoming the fourth governing body in South Carolina with such a measure.

The ordinance makes it illegal to discriminate in public accommodations based on sexual orientation, race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, familial status, and disability. Similar ordinances in Charleston, Columbia and Richland County extend to public accommodations and housing. Violators of the ordinance for Folly Beach, an island community near Charleston, can face a $500 fine or 30 days in jail.

The Folly Beach ordinance currently provides protections for real or perceived sexual orientation, but not gender identity. Christine Johnson, executive director of South Carolina Equality, said that absence was the result of an “unintentional” deletion during a fast-moving technical amendments process as lawmakers, who based the language on the Charleston ordinance, corrected portions of the code to reflect Folly Beach. The other local ordinances in South Carolina offer protections inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Johnson anticipated that council members would be able to reinstate the language with protections for real or perceived gender identity within “the next couple of months.”

“They felt unanimous and completely in favor,” she said. “No one had objections to it in the first place.”

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