Albany rejects equity language as councilman mentions 'lipstick lesbians'

Editor's note: The original report by the Albany Democrat-Herald reported that Councilor Rich Kellum fired a woman because she lied to him, when in fact he hired a woman because she was honest with him about being a lesbian.

ALBANY, Ore. — After a contentious meeting, the Albany City Council voted against changing the Albany Human Relations Commission municipal code to include the words "diversity" and "equity," while removing the word "harmonious."

The Albany Democrat-Herald newspaper reported the council meeting room was filled beyond capacity Wednesday. Most speakers favored including the new language, citing Oregon's history of racial inequity and personal stories about a lack of harmony in Albany.

Others took exception to Councilman Rich Kellum's opposition to the proposed changes at a previous meeting, when he said diversity and equity were buzzwords used by Black Lives Matter and other groups.

During that meeting, Kellum described people who support equity and diversity as "those people."

Before the council voted Wednesday, Kellum addressed the crowd. According to the Albany Democrat-Herald, he said he had friends in high school that were Mexican and Indian and that he had a friend in the Navy who was Mexican.

Kellum said he judges people on their character, not their color. He said he once hired a woman who was honest with him about being a lesbian.

"And that's when I learned all I needed to learn about lipstick lesbians," he said.

The crowd jeered at that comment, the Albany Democrat-Herald reported.

Kellum was among the majority in the 4-2 vote against adding the equity language.

© 2017 KGW-TV


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