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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spokane Valley approves non-discrimination resolution; councilman declines to serve on human rights task force, citing abortion

FILE – Spokane Valley City Hall, 11707 E. Sprague, in 2009. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
FILE – Spokane Valley City Hall, 11707 E. Sprague, in 2009. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

The Spokane Valley City Council unanimously approved an anti-discrimination resolution at its meeting Tuesday evening.

The resolution was proposed by City Councilman Ed Pace in the wake of several hate speech incidents in the greater Spokane area.

Several members of the Spokane County Human Rights Task Force were at the council meeting to show support for the resolution. A similar resolution was passed by the Spokane City Council Monday evening.

In Spokane, task force members turned their backs protesting comments made by Councilman Mike Fagan, but nothing like that happened in Spokane Valley.

Many residents spoke in support of the ordinance, as did Spokane NAACP Chapter President Phil Tyler.

“Human rights are important,” Tyler said, in front of a full council chambers. “Some believe that a show up like tonight is an orchestrated event – but it’s not. I’m not being paid to be here.”

Tyler, who’s also on board of the task force encouraged the council to pass the resolution to show residents that words matter.

“Hate should not exist in Spokane Valley,” Tyler said.

Dean Lynch, the task force’s chairman, extended an invitation for someone from Spokane Valley to join the board.

Pace was appointed to the board by Mayor Rod Higgins last year, but refused to sign its mission statement – or creed – because it doesn’t oppose abortion.

“That’s a deal-breaker to me,” Pace said in a phone interview. “Abortion is murder. The lives of unborn children should be protected like other protected groups.”

Lynch has met with Pace and parts of the creed have been rewritten.

“If Councilman Pace is still unwilling to sign the creed, then we will approach Mayor Higgins for an alternative representative,” Lynch said, before the meeting. “It’s important to have Spokane Valley involved.”

The resolution passed unanimously.

“Tonight this resolution casts a rainbow over Spokane Valley,” Tyler said.

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