Gay volunteer resigns from Kirksville commission

The first public fallout from this week's Kirksville City Council vote against an ordinance that would have helped prevent discrimination against gays and transgender residents came on Wednesday.

Cole Woodcox, the vice-chair of the Kirksville Historic Preservation Commission, resigned in response to Monday's vote against the formation of a Human Rights Commission. You can read his entire letter below.

Mondayâ??s City Council vote was 3-2 against the proposed ordinance. Mayor Richard Detweiler, Robert Russell and Roger Edge voted against it.

Jerry Mills and Glen Moritz voted in favor of the proposal.

The swing vote was Robert Russell. Just days before the vote, he had stated that he supported the measure, then on the evening the vote was taken, Russell flip-flopped and voted against it, much to the surprise of the measure's supporters.

Below is the resignation letter from Cole Woodcox:

Dear Chairman Shook,

As of the end of today's meeting (3 July 2013), I am resigning from the Kirksville Historic Preservation Commission in response to the City Council vote on Monday on the Human Rights Commission Ordinance.

Because the Council is unwilling to include me, a gay man, as a full member of the Kirksville community, I cannot ethically continue to serve as an official volunteer on a commission that works on the city's behalf. I regret that some Council members believe my access to the same rights and privileges they enjoy represents 1) an impediment to Kirksville's economic growth; 2) a legal liability to the city; 3) an increase in the growth of city administration and in volunteer citizen participation in government; 4) a violation of religious beliefs; and 5) an unnecessary financial concern.

Not only is Kirksville a place where people make a difference, our city is a place where different people make a difference. Different genders, religions, ethnicities, races, ages, sexualities, abilities, jobs, backgrounds, skills, politics, economic groups, languages. Discrimination that hides behind uneasiness about the size of government or about saving money is still discrimination against difference in our community.

My sincere thanks to the members of the Kirksville Historic Preservation Commission and to the city staff associated with it for their professionalism. I appreciate the valuable work you do to relate history, place, community and economic development to each other.

Cole Woodcox

Vice-Chair, Kirksville Historic Preservation Commission

Click on this link to view KTVO's unedited video of the the Kirksville City Council meeting where two dozen people spoke either in favor of or against the proposed ordinance that would have formed a Human Rights Commission.