Proposal to protect gays defeated but not dead

UPDATE: Click HERE to see the unedited speeches from the 14 people who addressed the Kirksville City Council at this week's meeting.


A proposal in Kirksville designed to prevent discrimination against gay and transgender residents is defeated, but it is certainly not dead.

At the last Kirksville City Council meeting, the council voted down the measure by a 3-2 vote.

On Monday night, the measure wasn't even on the agenda, but a roomful of residents showed up at the city council meeting.

For 50 minutes, 14 of those residents took the podium to address the council and share their thoughts on the proposed formation of a human rights commission in Kirksville.

Many spoke in favor such an ordinance, while a handful of residents spoke against it or said it wasn't necessary to have in place.

"I don't see a problem in this community where you have businesses and people being fired because of their homosexuality,â?? said John Hanley. â??I've never seen that."

"People who say 'I've never had this problem, I've never heard of this problem' is they've never been the person on the other side of the phone call when a student or resident or intern in this town has called me because they know I'm a safe person to talk to about their being gay in Kirksville,â?? said Maria Evans, who is in favor of an ordinance to protect gays and transgender people from discrimination when it come to hiring and firing and public accommodation.

"I do want to say from the outset that I do try to be a Christian person,â?? said Paul Kissick, who is against the proposal. â??That being said, we love all people; however, I do reject the idea of trying to accept other values that i consider to be immoral."

An openly gay Truman State University student took to podium to share his perspective with council members.

I work in Kirksville, and I'm gay, but that doesn't mean anything to my job because it doesn't matter,â?? said Bryar Keyes. â??But, if one of my bosses were to find out or think I'm gay and fire me, I feel like that would be a gross injustice, especially in America where we're supposed to be the 'land of the free.'"

Most attending Monday night's meeting didn't know it, but prior to the council meeting, council members held a study session.

During that session, members had agreed to once again discuss the ordinance at a future study session.

Supporters will be sharing a couple of revised versions at the request of Councilmen Jerry Mills and Glen Moritz, who voted in favor of the first version of the ordinance two weeks ago.

The topic will be up for discussion at the city council's August 5 study session.