City Commission Changes Ordinance To Include Gay, Lesbian, Transgender
Todd Pittenger - Mon 04:59 PM 09/10/2012
A small group of protesters gathered outside the Salina Community Theater late Monday afternoon as Salina City Commissioners and a large crowd gathered inside to discuss, and to make a decision on a proposed controversial ordinance change. Commissioners were considering changing the city anti-discrimination ordinance.
Commissioners heard well over two hours of testimony from numerous people both for and against the change. Some of the testimony was very passionate.
Salina Community Theater Executive Director Michael Spicer estimated the crowd to be at around 200 people.
Ultimately, by a 3 - 2 vote, commissioners elected to change the anti-discrimination ordinance to include sexual orientation and gender identity. The ordinance will prohibit discrimination of gay, lesbian, or transgender residents in the areas of employment, housing and public accommodations.
Vice Mayor Barb Shirley and Commissioners Aaron Householter and Kaye Crawford voted for the ordinance change. Mayor Norm Jennings and Commissioner Samantha Angell voted against it.
Monday's meeting was the culmination of several months of discussion, and public meetings on the issue. As part of the process, the city hosted three public forums on the issue.
The Salina Human Relations Commission also twice discussed the issue. Those commissioners voted 7 - 1 to recommend that the city pass the ordinance change.
Prior to to the public forum, Salina City Manager Jason Gage said that those opposed to the ordinance change could ultimately get it put on a ballot for a public vote to overturn via a petition drive. He advised anyone considered doing that to first contact the city attorney.