Thursday, May 5, 2011

City Officials Pass First Reading to Rescind Gay Equality Ordinance in Manhattan, KS

Newly-elected and incumbent city commissioners in Manhattan, Kansas, began last night the process to overturn a recently-passed ordinance that would protect LGBT residents in the areas of employment, housing and public accommodations. Members of the previous commission approved the controversial anti-discrimination policy that included sexual orientation and gender identity in early February by a 3-2 vote. However, following elections earlier this month, a majority of the new batch of commissioners last night voted 3-2 to repeal it.

Mayor James Sherow says the latest development is unfortunate and will send a negative message about equality for all of Manhattan’s citizens, especially after local activists worked hard over the past year and a half to get the anti-bias protections passed. Sherow says opponents of the policy argue that the city doesn’t need LGBT protections, and that it’s just a symptom of an overbearing city government.

He says it also didn’t help that the two newly-elected commissioners pushing for repeal had the support of ‘Awaken Manhattan’–a group of 27 religious leaders that has already deemed the “well-intended” policy “unlawful” for its “sweeping” protections. Sherow says he hopes the repeal will motivate progressive voters when they elect new commissioners in the coming years.

Note: PFLAG National received this article from Karl Kramer of PFLAG Manhattan, KS.

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