CLEVELAND -- It's a small change with a big impact in Cleveland, just days before the Republican National Convention comes to town.
On Wednesday night, Cleveland City Council voted to approve a measure to make changes to its anti-discrimination ordinance and allow transgender citizens to use whatever restroom they like.
The intent of the ordinance is to allow transgender people living and working in Cleveland to use the facilities based on the gender they identify with.
The city's anti-discrimination ordinance essentially had an exception for transgender people using the restroom they want, but Council President,Kevin Kelley expected the city would just take the exception out.
Many clergy members expressed concern about the measure with the original proposal containing exemptions for religious groups and small businesses.
The changes passed the committee of the whole and tonight passed the full council.
Kelley expected that both would happen after he worked on the legislation that he says will respect the rights of all sides and will not impose large financial burdens on businesses to create additional facilities.
The Cleveland City Council also removed mandatory minimum penalties associated with violating the city's anti-discrimination ordinance.
Before Wednesday's vote, a minimum of a $1,000 fine was imposed and a 3-month jail sentence was put into place.
“This action by the City Council delivers on the promise of the Gay Games,” said Alana Jochum, Executive Director of Equality Ohio. “Cleveland is now a world class city with laws that foster a culture of inclusion. When the world is watching Cleveland on television, whether it’s the NBA Finals or the Republican National Convention, they’re seeing a city that is welcoming of LGBTQ people.”