Saturday, November 17, 2012

Missourians for Equality considering statewide anti-gay bias initiative

AKSARBENT has no idea whether these two presumably straight farm hands know that there really
is a gay college bar in Columbia, MO called Boner Farm. (Photo: Flickr, SkinheadSportBiker1)
Elizabeth Crips of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that a new Missouri organization is close to circulating petitions making discrimination against gay Missourians illegal in the state.
     Although the GOP has veto-proof majorities in both houses of the state legislature, Aaron Malin thinks Missouri voters are more liberal than their representatives on the issue.
Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, quietly signed an executive order two years ago that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation for jobs in the state executive branch.
     Several cities also have passed local ordinances to outlaw discrimination against gays and lesbians. Kansas City, Columbia and St. Louis have included sexual orientation in anti-discrimination legislation in recent years, as have Clayton, Creve Coeur, Ferguson, Maplewood, Olivette, Richmond Heights and University City. Recently, Springfield also has considered similar language.
     The Missouri-based gay advocacy group PROMO announced on Monday that it wants St. Louis County to update its nondiscrimination ordinance to include gender identity and sexual orientation. Andrew Shaughnessy, PROMO’s local field organizer, said he has been in discussions with County Executive Charlie A. Dooley and members of the County Council on the issue.
...The Missouri House drew attention earlier this year when it passed a bill that would have made it illegal for employers to discriminate against people because they own or use guns. The measure never came up for a vote in the Senate, but several lawmakers questioned the priority of protecting gun owners when there are no similar protections for gays and lesbians. Some Republican members of the Legislature also drew a public backlash this year for proposing a bill that would have restricted discussions about sexual orientation in public schools.

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