OGDEN -- The head of Equality Utah is expressing concern about portions of a proposed city ordinance aimed at prohibiting housing and employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
The Ogden City Council may vote on the ordinance Tuesday night.
The ordinance has been in the works for more than a year at the urging of James Humphreys, a community activist, and Equality Utah, a Salt Lake City-based organization whose goal is to secure equal rights and protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Utahns and their families.
The city council has worked diligently with Equality Utah and other groups to develop an effective ordinance, said Caitlin Gochnour, chairwoman of the Ogden City Council.
"We have invested a lot of time and energy and have tried to build consensus," she said. "I feel we are ready to move forward with this policy."
Brandie Balken, executive director of Equality Utah, said working with the city council and community in developing the ordinance has been productive.
However, Equality Utah is concerned about a provision in the ordinance that exempts landlords who rent shared living space within a single unit under separate contracts to two or more individuals, Balken said.
The provision could allow landlords to discriminate against tenants on the basis of gender or sexual orientation, she said.
City Attorney Gary Williams has said the exemption is necessary.
Without the exemption, a landlord could be found to be discriminating if one tenant objected to living with another tenant and the landlord were forced to decide which one could remain in the apartment, he has said.
Balken is also concerned about a provision that states the regulation should not be construed to limit or prohibit the expression of a person's religious beliefs, opinion or views.
Equality Utah supports free speech and religious expression but worries the provision could allow landlords and employers to harass lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals, she said.
The city council will discuss the ordinance when it meets at 6 p.m. Tuesday on the third floor of the Municipal Building, 2549 Washington Blvd.