Oklahoma City Council member David Greenwell said this week that he opposed housing protections for LGBT people because a Christian couple could be forced to rent their garage apartment to gay men.
On Tuesday, the council debated adding sexual orientation and gender identity to an ordinance that already prevented discrimination in the house sector based on age, familial status, disability, race, color, sex, religion, creed, ancestry or national origin.
Citing his Christian faith, Councilman Larry McAtee called the amendment “a step in the wrong direction.”
Greenwell agreed, noting that it would force Christians to rent out “a spare room over their garage” to LGBT people even if they did not want to “condone that kind of lifestyle.”
“[They] would prefer not to rent out to people of the LGBT community,” he explained. “We’re taking that person’s right away, I believe, with this ordinance. And that part disturbs me, to take that person’s ability to rent out a spare room in that kind of a situation.”
“Just like I believe and I wouldn’t want to condone my children, for example, to live together outside of marriage,” Greenwell continued. “Now, I may be considered old fashioned in that regard, but I don’t think it’s right.”
Vice Mayor Pete White argued that the Christian couple “wouldn’t be effected one way or another by having someone live in their garage apartment.”
“If it challenges their religious beliefs, they need to work on their marriage,” he quipped. “It’s not something that challenges your belief. It’s just preventing you from discriminating against somebody else.”
Although opponents pushed to delay the vote so the issue could be studied, the council eventually passed the amendment 5-4 during the Tuesday session.
Watch the video below from the Oklahoma City Council.