COLUMBIA, S.C. — An ordinance passed by the City of Columbia received push back ahead of the vote.
Columbia City Council unanimously passed a hate intimidation ordinance during their Tuesday night meeting.
The ordinance allows law enforcement to add "hate intimidation" to a crime committed, if the crime was committed because of someone's race, color, creed, religion, ancestry, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability or national origin.
The ordinance received push back during the public hearing portion of the meeting, from people who believe the ordinance could threaten freedom of speech.
"I just think that if this thing passes, it will suppress freedom to speak in ways that we haven't thought about maybe," says Michael Reed. "I talked to a couple pastors in the past couple days and they're very concerned that this will freeze their speech inside their own church."
Reed and other people spoke out during the meeting.
Charlie Davis, who was also against the ordinance says there's concern that the added ordinance won't prevent hate crimes in the future.
"There's a law against murder already," says Davis. "So, all this is doing is selecting out some people to say they are more important and they're going to be punished extra."
Those in favor of the ordinance say calling out hatred is important.
"Really, this is the city supporting the entire community by saying we do not let hate fester here," says Charles Fricke. "We will call it out when we see it."
"Love is love no matter who you love and how you live your life and that's what we want, but there are people that believe we shouldn't be able to do that," says Dayna Smith, Transgender Resource Coordinator for the Harriet Hancock LGBT Center. "When they act on those beliefs, they should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law."
Smith says she's concerned about the growing number of trans women of color, who are being attacked and murdered throughout the state. She hopes that the state will follow.
"This council has some very progressive members and some very conservative members and everyone in between," says Mayor Steve Benjamin. "To have a unanimous vote of this council that clearly and unequivocally states that we will indeed be a city for all people and will act accordingly, I think that's important."
Along with the hate intimidation ordinance, council passed two gun violence ordinances that prevent guns 1000 feet from any school, and an ordinance giving law enforcement the power to remove weapons from a person who is in crisis. That is otherwise known as a red flag ordinance.
All three of the ordinances passed on Tuesday will have to be signed by Mayor Benjamin, but are not officially in effect.