Urasoe prepares to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation
Urasoe City Mayor Tetsuji Matsumoto, Feb. 26th, presented public a draft of an ordinance titled “Regulations to realize society respecting diversity of sexual orientation” that is included in the city’s proposed antidiscrimination regulations regarding sexual minorities and same-sex partnerships. The draft is compiled by Kazushige Shimizu, the director of Graduate School of Law at the University of the Ryukyus.
Next, Urasoe City will set up a public comment and notifying period to citizens and local enterprises to comment on the draft. The aim is to enact the ordinance in April 2020 and if enacted, it would be the first in Okinawa.
The draft prohibits violence and harassment based on sexual orientation in any place, including work, schools and homes. They forbid discrimination in employment and businesses in addition to adopting a partnership ordinance that recognizes a relationship between same-sex couples in the family register the same as a marriage.
The city will consider later whether to include penalties for violations of the ordinance.
Naha City created an outline of a possible ordinance regarding the same-sex partnerships in 2016, but the city assembly has yet to adopt an official resolution on the matter.
In Urasoe City’s case, the aim is to adopt regulations that citizens and enterprises are required to respect and observe, and that would be the first in Okinawa.
The Urasoe City administration plans to present the draft regulations to the city council in March next year.
At a reception held at the Urasoe City Gender Equality Harmony Center, Mayor Matsumoto said, “To respect the diversity in sexual orientation is the same as to respect human rights of every citizen in this city. We will work to establish the regulations and aim to achieve understanding on this issue by citizens and enterprises alike.”
Professor Shimizu who compiled the draft, said, “I’m impressed with Urasoe City wanting to be a city free of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation where all people are respected as human beings. I hope Urasoe will hold through deliberations on the draft and enact a final ordnance that is even better than this draft.”