A proposal to amend Alberta's human rights legislation to include sexual orientation is being met with approval.

Alberta Culture Minister Lindsay Blackett has introduced several changes to be enacted in the spring.

Gays and lesbians are already protected against discrimination as a result of a 1998 Supreme Court of Canada decision, but Blackett's amendments would bring Alberta's legislation in line with the court's decision.

Michael Phair, Edmonton's first openly gay city councillor, said the legislation is long overdue.

"It's the signal that says that as a province, we recognize that gays and lesbians should be part of the anti-discrimination legislation, that they aren't at risk and it's a really preventive kind of thing," he said.

"Let's not have any discrimination take place so we don't have to remedy it and the legislation helps to say that's where we are and that's what we want."

Alberta is the only province in Canada that does not include sexual orientation in its human rights code.

Blackett's package of reforms also includes taking free speech issues away from the Human Rights Commission, to be dealt with instead by hate laws in the Criminal Code.

Another amendment would enshrine a parent's right to withdraw their children from parts of the school curriculum they think conflict with their religious beliefs.