Kirksville City Council ordinance to protect gays

More than 150 residents packed a large ATSU classroom for Monday's meeting.

The Kirksville City Council passed an anti-discrimination ordinance to help protect gays and transgender residents from discrimination when it comes to housing, employment and public accommodation Monday night by a 3-2 vote.

According to John Garlock with our sister station KTVO in Kirksville, the first time a previous version came up for a vote on July 1, it was defeated by a 3-2 vote. Several months, 14 revisions and numerous comments later, the issue passed. Click here for KTVO's complete story.

Forty-two people from both sides of the issue spoke out about why the ordinance should or should not be passed.

"This ordinance is No. 1, a special interest group trying to impose their lifestyle on us and our children and our grandchildren," opponent Laroyce Allemang said.

Anna Bloom, who supported the measure, explained why she wanted to see the proposal passed.

"I worked as a tutor at Kirksville High School, and a number of times I head the words â??faggotâ?? and â??gayâ?? thrown around in an incredibly negative and derogatory manner,â??Bloom said . â??That is a sign of such simple disrespect to this community that I can only ask that you pass this ordinance as a very small step towards equality in Kirksville."

When the vote was finally taken, Mayor Richard Detweiler and Councilmen Jerry Mills and Glen Moritz voted in favor of the ordinance. Councilmen Robert Russell and Roger Edge voted against it.

The version of the ordinance passed Monday evening calls for the appointment of a Human Rights Compliance Officer to try and resolve issues. This latest version also reduced the fine for violations from $500 to $200.

Under the employment section of the ordinance, the city manager will be expected to try and resolve the matter should the Human Rights Compliance Officer not be be able to do so before the matter is turned over to the city attorney.

Also, the city attorney will be required to obtain council approval before taking any case filed under this ordinance to Circuit Court.

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