FORT WORTH — A task force formed in the wake of the arrests at the Rainbow Lounge recommended a series of reforms Tuesday designed to give gay and lesbian residents equal treatment at City Hall.
The City Council could vote on one recommendation next week, but it may take time to research the legal and financial aspects of others.
Police and state liquor agents arrested five people in June at the Rainbow Lounge; one man was seriously injured while in custody. Many patrons said the police used excessive force and targeted the bar because it caters to gays. The results of a police investigation are scheduled to be released this week.
Jon Nelson, an attorney and chairman of the task force, called the recommendations "one of the most far-reaching actions this city has taken, in the shortest amount of time."
Among the recommendations:
— Extending the city's nondiscrimination ordinance to include gender expression. A vote on the recommendation is scheduled for Tuesday.
— Training for all city employees and elected officials on dealing with the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. Police, fire and front-line customer service representatives will be trained within two years.
— Extending domestic partner benefits, shared pensions and family leave for gay and lesbian city employees.
— Including a company's record on domestic partner benefits when considering city tax breaks.
— Including sex-change surgery in city health insurance coverage.
— Posting nondiscrimination language on job notices, including a letter to police recruits.
— Establishing support groups for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender employees.
— Holding educational fairs and using public events and media to increase awareness of the city’s anti-discrimination ordinance.
— Pushing for state and federal anti-discrimination laws.
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