Midwest Cities Debating Gay Rights Measures
Associated Press / KSAL Staff - Sun 02:36 PM 08/26/2012
The day the anti-discrimination ordinance was changed to include sexual orientation and gender identity protesters showed up at the meeting in Salina.
The fight for gay rights is playing out in city halls and town squares throughout the nation's heartland, from southwest Missouri to the Kansas plains to Nebraska college towns.
In Missouri, supporters of a Springfield proposal to prohibit discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations based on sexual orientation and gender identity hope elected leaders approve the change at a Monday meeting. They're also mindful of a city history that includes the bombing of a gay church by white supremacists and protests when a local university presented a play about a Jewish AIDS activist.
Opponents say they can gather enough petition signatures to put the measure before voters.
That may soon happen in Lincoln, Neb., and the Kansas towns of Salina and Hutchinson after earlier endorsements by city government.
In Salina, back on May 14th , by a 3 - 2 vote Salina City Commissioners elected to change the anti-discrimination ordinance to include sexual orientation and gender identity. The ordinance prohibits discrimination of gay, lesbian, or transgender residents in the areas of employment, housing and public accommodations. A group of people opposed to the ordinance change delivered a petition last week, asking for the repeal of the addition. City commissioners must now either repeal it, or put it to a public vote.
Supporters and opponents of a new anti-discrimination ordinance in Hutchinson presented dueling petitions to their county clerk. Opponents are seeking to repeal it, while supporters are seeking to expand the protections.