Kirksville Council votes down proposed human rights commission

The Kirksville City Hall council chambers was full for Monday evening's meeting, and the crowd was spilling into the hallway.

The hot topic: a proposed ordinance that would have created a human relations ordinance aimed at preventing discrimination based on such things as sexual orientation and gender identity.

The ordinance would have established a nine-member commission representing a cross section of the community.

That commission would have tried to resolve any related cases of discrimination.

Most of those attending Monday night's meeting supported passage of the measure, but there were also those who spoke out against it, and the situation got a little heated at moments.

In all, about two dozen citizens took the podium to address the council.

â??I was recently hired by Apple, a Fortune 500 company,â?? said Kelsey Smith, who supported the measure. â??I'm also heterosexual, and yet here in Kirksville, Missouri, my boss at my part-time job could fire me just because she thinks I might be gay."

Former Kirksville City Councilman Aaron Rodgerson, who is also a pastor, spoke against the proposal.

"People should call the police and not go to some snitch, nine-member council (to report) that they believe or think they have been mistreated. Go to the police," said Rodgerson.

Another Kirksville minister, The Rev. Johnette Shane, took to podium to encourage the council to pass the ordinance.

"When we talk about the judgment that God will have, I believe that God will judge this town appropriately and happily if this ordinance passes," said Shane.

Resident Trey Allemang voiced his concerns about the measure.

"I think if you pass a code like this, you're putting a bull's-eye on our city for lawsuits, and I don't think that's going to be good for the city in the long run," said Allemang.

After listening to one resident after another for almost an hour-and-a-half, the council ended up voting 3-2 against the measure.

The two who supported it were Jerry Mills and Glen Moritz.

Mayor Richard Detweiler and Councilmen Roger Edge and Robert Russell voted against the proposed ordinance.

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.