A City Council committee this week approved a proposed ordinance prohibiting discrimination against people who have AIDS or who are perceived to have AIDS.
The ordinance, similar to laws in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Pasadena, would make it illegal to refuse a job, housing, or medical or business services to people with AIDS or people who have tested positive for the AIDS virus.
The proposal, which must go before the full council, is supported by the city Health Department and a number of community and gay organizations. Advocates say the ordinance will encourage members of the city's substantial gay population to be tested for AIDS and will help protect their rights. Long Beach has 611 reported AIDS cases, the third-largest number among Los Angeles County cities.
If the ordinance passes, victims of discrimination could file a civil lawsuit demanding a halt to the discrimination and financial damages.