A small city in Kansas recently passed a local ordinance protecting its LGBTI residents from various forms of discrimination.
Council member Tucker Poling first introduced the ordinance with fellow member Chad Herring. They spent more than a year working on it.
‘I’m hopeful that the vote we take tonight will emphatically say to everyone in the LGBTQ community that we see you, we love you and you are welcome here in Prairie Village,’ said Poling upon the law’s passing.
Prairie Village is located in Johnson County, just outside of the Kansas City metropolitan area. As of 2016, its estimated population is 21,805.
Johnson County is in the state’s 3rd congressional district, which was recently won by Democrat Sharice Davids. With her win, Davids became the first LGBTI Native American elected to Congress.
The ordinance passed by a unanimous vote. Residents who gathered for the vote cheered and applauded when it passed.
The new law bans discrimination based on a person’s sexual orientation and gender identity in numerous places. These include housing, employment, and public services (such as businesses and restaurants).
If someone does discriminate in these fields, they could face up to a $1,000 fine.
Reactions to the victory
Mayor Laura Wassmer oversaw the vote during her final meeting as mayor. She said she hopes its passage will encourage other cities in the county to introduce and pass similar measures.
Other cities in the county, Mission and Merriam, have votes planned for non-discrimination ordinances soon.
Some, however, worry the ordinance infringes on their religious freedom, a common clash in the United States.
One business owner, Trey Jadlow, addressed this concern.
‘This ordinance is essentially outlawing the practice of biblical Christianity,’ he claimed.
Herring, one of the members who introduced the law, disagreed. He noted six churches and a synagogue in the city supported it. He also opined: ‘Too often I think these considerations are juxtaposing religion against neighbors.’
H/t: Kansas City Star