Kirksville City Council passes ordinance to protect gays

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

UPDATE: If you missed Monday's Kirksville City Council meeting, click HERE if you would like to hear what some of your friends and neighbors who supported or opposed the anti-discrimination ordinance had to say about it. The measure passed by a 3-2 vote. Prior to voting, the councilmen listed to 42 people for nearly two hours tell them why they should or should not pass the ordinance.


The Kirksville City Council once again took up a hot-button topic Monday evening: an anti-discrimination ordinance that would help protect gays and transgender residents from discrimination when it comes to housing, employment and public accommodation.

The first time a previous version came up for a vote on July 1, it was defeated by a 3-2 vote.

After several months, 14 revisions and comments from dozens of local residents during a handful of city council meetings, the issue was passed Monday night by a vote of 3-2.

This latest city council meeting was held in a large classroom at A.T. Still university to accommodate the large crowd.

More than 150 people attended.

Prior to Monday evening's vote, the council listened for almost two hours to 42 people on both sides of the issue speak 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," said opponent, Laroyce Allemang.

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?? said Bloom. 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.

Several members of the audience applauded the passage.

The version of the ordinance passed Monday evening calls for the appointment of a Human Rights Compliance Officer to try and resolve issues instead of a nine-member commission called for in an earlier draft.

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.