SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – City and community leaders want to better protect Savannahians from discrimination. The Savannah City Council unanimously passed the unlawful discrimination ordinance on Thursday.

The proposed ordinance was drafted by Mayor Van Johnson and District 6 Alderman Kurtis Purtee.

Purtee said this new version provides more specific and inclusive protections.

“We’re talking about how we can enforce discriminatory practices against any of these classes of folks out there,” said the alderman.

The ordinance will provide protections because of a person’s “actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability, marital status, familial status, or veteran/military status.”

These protections would be applied to employment, housing and access to public “resort, accommodation, assemblage, or amusement.”

Dusty Church, co-chair of the First City Pride Center’s Board of Directors, says this proposed resolution is the result of the creation of various task forces to better address the city’s diverse communities.

“One of the discussions in working with Mayor Johnson was to build a task force that can come to the city and express the needs for legislation like this,” said Church.

The co-chair says this is a major first step in addressing some of the issues faced in the city’s LGBTQ+ community.

“We have issues that need to be addressed in public health. We need better access to HIV testing, treatment, education,” said Church. “We need better access to mental healthcare. There’s a lot that goes into supplying and providing the basic needs for those who are struggling.”