N. Charleston amendments

It shall be the policy of the city to eliminate discrimination in housing based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age, disability, familial status or national origin.Sexual orientation means a person’s real or perceived heterosexuality, homosexuality or bisexuality, or gender identity or expression.

North Charleston is poised to become the third large city in South Carolina to bar landlords and sellers of real estate from discriminating against people due to their sexual orientation.

City Council gave preliminary approval to the measure in a unanimous vote Oct. 25, with the endorsement of Mayor Keith Summey. A final vote is scheduled Nov. 8.

Summey said amendments to the city’s fair housing ordinance add common sense language in a city opposed to discrimination. The city hosted the first Charleston Gay Pride Parade and Celebration in 2010, with Summey serving as grand marshal.

The pending city legislation would add “sexual orientation” to an ordinance that already bars discrimination in housing based on race, color, religion, sex, age, disability, familial status or national origin.

Charleston and Columbia also prohibit discrimination in housing based on sexual orientation, and Charleston’s regulations also cover accommodations, extending anti-discrimination language to public places such as hotels and businesses.

“Our goal is to have housing and public accommodations (protections in North Charleston) as we did in Charleston,” said Warren Redman-Gress, executive director of the Charleston-based Alliance for Full Acceptance.

The housing ordinance has proved non-controversial among North Charleston City Council members, who all voted to support the measure without comment at their recent meeting.

Redman-Gress said he has heard of instances of landlords discriminating against prospective tenants in North Charleston, but said he could not provide specifics, and said those involved did not want to discuss the incidents.

Reach David Slade at 937-5552 or Twitter @DSladeNews.