The Winston-Salem City Council has passed a fast-tracked update to its non-discrimination ordinance, but it's unclear how the policy will extend beyond the city government.

The measure expands personnel protections to a broader range of gender and sexual identities. It would also bar discrimination against people for hairstyles often associated with race, including cornrows and afros.

The updated protections are mandatory for the city. They're also not binding but encouraged for the business community, says city attorney Angela Carmon. What that means isn't certain, but she says there's time built into the policy to figure that out.

“The goal is to consider this to be phase one with the understanding that phase two — around 100 days — will hopefully result in an ordinance that has more specific requirements as it relates to the private sector and answers some of the enforcement and investigative type issues and concerns,” Carmon says.

The measure passed unanimously.

In an interview with WFDD last week, Mayor Pro Tem D.D. Adams said she expects the updated ordinances in Winston-Salem and similar ones passed by Greensboro and other urban cities to be challenged by the Republican-led state legislature.

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