The Fat Studies Reader

By Esther Rothblum; Sondra Solovay | Go to book overview

Appendix B
Legal Briefs

This section provides a brief look at the actual legal language used to prohibit weight discrimination in sample jurisdictions. Laws prohibiting weight discrimination are known to exist in only a handful of places, including the following U.S. locations: the State of Michigan; Washington, D.C.; Madison, Wisconsin; and the California cities of Santa Cruz and San Francisco. Below are excerpts of the San Francisco and Michigan laws. In addition, the complete Compliance Guidelines for the San Francisco ordinance are included. The Guidelines themselves have the full force of law in the City and County of San Francisco. Pay particular attention to the definitions of height and weight used by the City and County of San Francisco (as provided in the Guidelines), which were crafted to avoid discrimination based, among many things, on the places where fat is located on the body.


1. Excerpt from San Francisco Municipal Code Chapter 12 A and B

SEC. 12A.1. FINDINGS.

The population of this City and County is composed of people of various racial, religious and ethnic groups. In this City and County the practice of discrimination on the actual or perceived grounds of race, religion, color, ancestry, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, weight, height or place of birth and the exploitation of prejudice related thereto adversely affects members of minority groups.

Such discriminatory practices are inimical to the public welfare and good order in that they: (a) impede social and economic progress for the entire citizenry by preventing members of minority groups from achieving full development of their individual potentialities and from contributing fully to the cultural and business life of the community; (b) constantly frustrate, degrade and embitter members of minority groups, thereby diminishing their initiative and interests in the community; and (c) tend to create intergroup hostilities and antisocial behavior.

The products of discrimination accumulate continuously, with the result that the social, economic and educational gaps between those suffering discrimination and the majority of the community constantly widen. As a result, mere prohibition of future and present discrimination, while essential, will not reduce the inequalities and

-343-

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