On June 17, 1985 Mayor Bernie Sanders signed an ordinance to protect the LGBTQ+ community from housing and employment discrimination. This was one of the first non-discrimination resolutions of its time in the United States.

On June 22, 1985, Sanders wrote members of the gay community to inform them that the board had passed (the) resolution.

“It is my very strong view that a society which proclaims human freedom as its goal, as the United States does, must work unceasingly to end discrimination against all people,” he wrote. “I am happy to say that this past year, in Burlington, we have made some important progress by adopting an ordinance which prohibits discrimination in housing. This law will give legal protection not only to welfare recipients, and families with children, the elderly and the handicapped — but to the gay community as well.”[1]

The Resolution[2] stated:

“That the City Council of the City of Burlington expresses its strong support for the rights of lesbians and gay men generally, as well as specifically in the areas of employment, housing, child custody, and public services; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the City Council encourages executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government at all levels to take action to guarantee these rights; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Burlington Board of Aldermen expresses its strong support of the constitutional rights of free assembly of all American citizens regardless of sexual orientation.