UPDATE: As you can see in my above video from last night’s meeting, it was DART board member Raymond Noah who proposed the amendment that ultimately gutted the proposed transgender protections. However, given that no other board members questioned Noah’s amendment, it’s likely that it had been crafted and discussed behind closed doors. An attorney, Noah represents Richardson, Highland Park, Addison and University Park on the DART board.
I just spoke with Ken Upton at Lambda Legal regarding my concerns about the wording of DART’s proposed nondiscrimination policy.
And Upton agrees that the addition of the word “except,” which was inserted by the DART Board of Directors last night in a closed session, has the effect of gutting the policy as it relates to both sexual orientation and gender identity. (See my post below.)
“They just screwed you guys over royally,” Upton said. “By adding that word in there, they’ve said we can discriminate all we want. It’s exactly the opposite of what they promised they were doing.”
Upton says he believes the decision was intentional and likely made during the 30-minute closed session prior to the vote, which I’ve suggested may have been illegal.
“You’d like to think they’re just stupid, but the truth is you have to assume that the people who write these things at least have basic language skills,” Upton said. “Supposedly there’s at least one attorney involved, so I have to assume it’s intentional.
“That’s unfortunate they did that,” Upton added. “After all the work that’s gone into this, if this is what comes out of it, then we got nothing. They can say that’s not what they intended, but that’s what it says.”
Rafael McDonnell, a spokesman for Resource Center Dallas, said Wednesday afternoon he had already contacted DART officials and strongly objected to the new language.
“I’m highly disappointed and angry at this point,” McDonnell said. “If it was their intention to make us go away, they’ve underestimated the community.”
DART’s Board of Directors is scheduled to take a final vote on the new policy next week.