The 1996 County Council resolution says LGBT life style is incompatible with Greenville’s “traditional family structure” of community standards. The 1996 nonbinding resolution also pledges not to fund “activities which seek to contravene these existing community standards.”
A proposed new “sunset clause” resolution (pdf), which requires seven votes to pass, would phase out nonbinding resolutions, including the 1996 statement, after four years. Although eight council members voted in favor of the sunset clause in a committee meeting, the measure failed when only six voted for it during the March 3 County Council meeting, which followed impassioned public comments on both sides of the issue.
“The Greenville Chamber supports policies that promote economic inclusion, growth and competitiveness,” Phillips said in a written statement this week. “The County Council resolution at the center of the current debate does not reflect the diverse, successful community that Greenville has become in the past 24 years. Companies in Greenville County and throughout the region recognize the value of diversity in their workforce, their customers, and their leadership.”
Greenville County Council Chairman Butch Kirven has called a special meeting for March 11 to reconsider the sunset clause resolution. Council member Joe Dill also drafted a resolution (pdf) that would allow Greenville County voters to decide whether to rescind the 1996 resolution on Nov. 3.
“Determining our community’s values is not the purview of the Greenville County Council,” Phillips said in the chamber statement. “Those values are instilled and nurtured every day in Greenville’s homes, houses of worship and community groups. It is the County Council’s responsibility to enact policies that address our community’s challenges and ensure the county government carries out its duties and responsibilities in a fair and impartial way — without regard to race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or religious beliefs. We look forward to working with the council on measures that will accelerate paths to economic prosperity for everyone in Greenville, including increased educational attainment, improved infrastructure, and better access to high-wage, high-skill, high-demand jobs.”p