HomePublicationBurbankPanel Repeals Discriminatory Code

Panel Repeals Discriminatory Code

First published in the March 12 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

The city of Burbank recently repealed decades-old portions of its municipal code, which advocates and officials said discriminated against members of the LGBTQ community.

The Burbank City Council voted unanimously during its March 1 meeting to repeal two sections of the code. One of the codes effectively makes it a misdemeanor to “impersonate by means of a costume or dress, a person of the opposite sex,” while the other restricts dance partners in public venues to “persons of the opposite sex.”

Burbank officials said they don’t have records indicating the ordinances were enforced, but noted that they conflict with federal and state civil rights laws by not providing equal protection under the law based on a person’s gender identity and expression.

The City Council implemented both code sections as part of larger ordinances regarding entertainment venues in the early 1950s, City Clerk Zizette Mullins told the Leader.

The repeal of the municipal codes will go into effect in mid-March. Representatives of the Burbank YCMA’s Social Impact Center, an organization that offers support services to LGBTQ youth, supported the repeals, with one of its volunteers raising the issue to the City Council.

“The repeal of the two discriminatory ordinance showcases a Burbank that is conscious of its LGBTQ+ community and working towards providing a safe and inclusive city for all to comfortably thrive in,” Fernanda Tenorio, a coordinator at the Social Impact Center, said in a statement. “Under these ordinances, Burbank’s queer and trans community members wouldn’t have been allowed to navigate the city as their authentic themselves. …

“We are aware of Burbank’s long history of discrimination, but we are excited to see positive change is being made for a more inclusive future! Burbank is home to the Social Impact Center and we are grateful that City Council is moving forward in creating an accepting and supporting community for all in Burbank.”

City Councilman Nick Schultz, who requested the ordinances repealing the code sections in December, provided the sole council comment on the items once Burbank officials brought the matter to the panel in recent meetings.

“I support this not just because it’s what is legally required — it’s the right thing to do,” Schultz said during the panel’s Feb. 15 meeting, when it voted unanimously to introduce the repeals, “and creating an environment where everybody is valued and appreciated and respected is not a waste of our time. It’s absolutely what we should be doing.”

Schultz has also pushed the city to update its municipal code to use gender-neutral language, a matter scheduled to come before the City Council during its March 15 meeting.


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