WISCONSIN: Madison Becomes Nation's First City To Explicitly Protect Atheists
In what is believed to be a first in the nation, the Madison City Council has voted to amend the city's equal opportunities ordinance to make "nonreligion" a protected class. The ordinance, which was approved Tuesday night, adds atheists to the official list of people who could face discrimination. It comes as Indiana is facing a firestorm of criticism over its new "religious freedom" laws amid charges that it is a thinly disguised attempt to permit discrimination against gays. "This is important because I believe it is only fair that if we protect religion, in all its varieties, we should also protect nonreligion from discrimination. It's only fair," said Ald. Anita Weier, the bill's chief sponsor, Madison's WISC TV reported. It was sponsored by 14 of the council's 20 members. Julaine Appling, president of Wisconsin Family Action, said the Madison ordinance wasn't necessary. "I figured it was an April Fool's joke. Unfortunately it's not an April Fool's Joke," Appling said. "It's very Madisonian." Todd Stiefel, chairman of the Ohio-based nonprofit Openly Secular, called the Madison vote "magnificent."RELATED: The above-quoted Julaine Appling, you may recall, had a delicious meltdown when same-sex marriage was legalized in her state. She has predicted that Wisconsin's ban will be reinstated when SCOTUS rules in June.