Working for a safe, affordable, vibrant, innovative, and interconnected city.
Learn More Home Page This Department
Link to Office for Civil Rights Home Page Link to Office for Civil Rights Home Page Link to Office for Civil Rights About Us Page Link to Office for Civil Rights Contact Us Page
Office for Civil Rights Patricia Lally, Director
About Us
What We Do
Press Releases
Human Rights Day and Other Events
Past Human Rights Day Events
What is Illegal Discrimination?
How to File a Complaint
Labor Standards
Rules, Ordinances, Publications
Gender Equity in Pay Task Force
Notice of Nondiscrimination
Seattle Race and Social Justice Initiative
Disability Access and Services
Contact Us

Civil Rights Historical Milestones in Seattle

Checkmark Graphic1963 - Marked the beginning of the housing struggle in Seattle. A presidential order banning discrimination in the sale of federally financed housing was signed. In the spring, Seattle Mayor Gordon Clinton proposed a Seattle Human Rights Commission. It was composed of 12 volunteer members appointed by the Mayor and the City Council and staffed by a Director and Secretary.

Checkmark Graphic1968 - April 19, 1968, was the date Seattle's Fair Housing Ordinance was unanimously passed. It gave the Seattle Human Rights Commission the responsibility to receive and investigate complaints, determine whether discrimination actually existed, and to attempt to resolve complaints through conciliation. By the end of 968, 22 cities in the state of Washington had adopted similar housing ordinances.

Checkmark Graphic1970 - "Ancestry" was added to the Housing Ordinance as a protected class.

Checkmark Graphic1971 - Saw the establishment of Seattle's Office for Women's Rights (OWR). Its mission was to promote economic and social equity for women and sexual minorities.

Checkmark Graphic1972 - "Sex" was added to the housing ordinance as protected class.

Checkmark Graphic1973 - On October 18, the Fair Employment Practices Ordinance was adopted by the City. Protected classes in the employment ordinance included: "race," "color," "sex," "marital status," "sexual orientation," "political ideology," "age," "creed," "religion," "ancestry," and "national origin."

Checkmark Graphic1975 - "Sexual orientation" and "political ideology" were added to the City's Housing Ordinance as protected classes.

Checkmark Graphic1979 - "Parental status" and "age" were added to the City's Housing Ordinance as protected classes.

Checkmark Graphic1980 - The women and Minority Business Enterprise (WMBE) Ordinance was adopted.

Checkmark Graphic1984 - On February 15, Seattle Mayor Charles Roger signed his Executive Order Affirming the Right of All Citizens to Receive City Services Equally. This Order prohibits discrimination by any City administrator, employee, agency or department in providing City services or award of City contracts.

Checkmark Graphic1987 - Seattle's Housing Ordinance becomes Seattle's Open Housing and Public Accommodations Ordinance, adding protections against discrimination in public accommodations. This also the year that the "use of service dog by a handicapped person" was added as a protected class.

Checkmark Graphic1995 - The administration of WMBE ordinance moved to the Department of Administrative Services which already handled City contracting and purchasing functions. The Seattle Human Rights Department concentrated its efforts on the investigative process, and advocacy and outreach efforts.

Checkmark Graphic1996 - Saw the merging of the Seattle Office for Women's Rights and the City's Human Rights Department to form the Seattle Office for Civil Rights.

Checkmark Graphic2009 - Seattle City Council passes resolution of support for Race and Social Justice Initiative.

Click PDF Graphic to read the full text of the Council's resolution.

Checkmark Graphic2009 - City of Seattle announces creation of the new Seattle Commission for People with Disabilities.

Checkmark Graphic2010 - Seattle City Council passes Resolution #31224 affirming the City's commitment to equal rights for people regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Click PDF Graphic to read the full text of the Council's resolution.