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Are City-Based Gay Rights Protections Needed?

Kirkwood is the latest to consider protections for the LGBT community, just days after St. Louis County approved similar measures. Is it redundant or needed on the local level?

Kirkwood is the latest St. Louis-area municipality to consider an ordinance that would protect residents from discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.

Last week, the city council gave preliminary approval to the measure. If approved, Kirkwood would become the 11th municipality in Missouri to approve similar measures. And just a few weeks ago, the county itself passed gay-rights legislation that protects lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals from discrimination in unincorporated areas.

The municipalities that have such measures include the first community to do so, University City, which did so in 2003. Then Olivette did so. The Riverfront Times reports that the 10 municipalities in Missouri also include: St. Louis, Kansas City, Richmond Heights, Maplewood, Ferguson, Clayton, Columbia and Creve Coeur.

A Kirkwood resident read this letter in an earlier meeting on the subject: "I have had more than one experience of being afraid in Kirkwood, because there aren't the protections for me, or for my partner, or for our gay friends," wrote Maggie Duwe, vice-chair of the Human Rights Commission. "But even more than the specific times of feeling afraid, it's about feeling the possibility of danger, the possibility of being made to leave somewhere, anywhere, at any time, by anyone or of being told that someone won't sell us a house, only because of who I love."

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's report on the hearing last week, opponents wondered whether this was redundant. Don't state and federal laws already protect against this sort of discrimination? Are these municipal ordinances needed?

The Post-Dispatch quoted resident David Geger: "I don’t see the need for any further rights for a special group."

What do you think? Are these local ordinances needed to protect all residents of our communities from discrimination? Are they duplicative? Does it matter?

Thomas Gibson December 26, 2012 at 05:42 PM
He is my son Dan. As far as I am concerned he is perfect. By the way, my parents never taught me that people were bad just because of what they are. My folks never rejected my son either. They love him for what he is, a great guy that just happens to be gay.
mike k December 26, 2012 at 10:57 PM
perhaps when you grow up, you can finally move out of your parents basement
ReverePaul December 26, 2012 at 11:04 PM
mike k the duplex your parents bought for you does not count as growing up. And just because your good at Monopoly does not make you a millionaire.
mike k December 27, 2012 at 01:20 AM
actually I am a multi millionaire, too bad for you, Ladue wanna be
Dan Johnson December 27, 2012 at 02:16 AM
Glad to hear your parents are supportive as well. Family support often has a major influence on self acceptance and can make the difference between life and death. But both you and your son were taught anti-gay prejudice from an early age, by peers, preachers, and others, if not from parents. You may have rejected those messages or overcome them upon later reflection and experience, but society still taught anti-gay prejudice as you were growing up. Those messages continue to be taught today, as evidenced on this tread alone. So you deserve some credit for resisting and overcoming those promotions of prejudice and discrimination, as do your parents.
Person of Interest January 05, 2013 at 07:57 AM
I am seventeen and gay. I am glad I am who I am and I have a group of STRAIGHT friends who support me. For people like mike k this might be hard to believe, but I do live in Missouri. You say gay marriage will never happen? Think again. My generAtion and younger grow up seeing it on tv and in movies and online. Many of us don't care or support it. So when you get old think about this thread. When you see married gays walking by. You are nothing to the young. I am nothing. Your opinion might shape today but tomorrow is my generations turn. People like you die everyday while mine become eligible to vote everyday. Gay marriage will happen. Time is the only factor. And I'm not lying when I say this. Find an article about voting on the topic over the years. Popularity is increasing for equal rights of gays.
Doug Nissing January 05, 2013 at 01:41 PM
Person of Interest -- thank you. Twenty years ago I helped begin a support group for LBGT teenagers, all in the efforts of helping people stay alive. The Bush (41) administration had produced a report that 1/3 of teen suicide attempts were related to issues re: sexual orientation. We know we saved lives. I am fiercely proud of that. Then, we had a bunch of frightened teenagers struggling to be hidden. Now, we have folk like you. I am so very proud of you I can't even begin to say. It is your generation that will finally bring justice to this world -- including Missouri. You are so right when you say "time is the only factor." When I was your age I never imagined that this would even be a possibility. Being legally married now (in Connecticut) was incomprehensible. As support for LBGT people increases, so will support for you to be able to celebrate the love in your life and to be able to share that openly. Go for it!
Doug Nissing January 05, 2013 at 01:41 PM
Person of Interest -- thank you. Twenty years ago I helped begin a support group for LBGT teenagers, all in the efforts of helping people stay alive. The Bush (41) administration had produced a report that 1/3 of teen suicide attempts were related to issues re: sexual orientation. We know we saved lives. I am fiercely proud of that. Then, we had a bunch of frightened teenagers struggling to be hidden. Now, we have folk like you. I am so very proud of you I can't even begin to say. It is your generation that will finally bring justice to this world -- including Missouri. You are so right when you say "time is the only factor." When I was your age I never imagined that this would even be a possibility. Being legally married now (in Connecticut) was incomprehensible. As support for LBGT people increases, so will support for you to be able to celebrate the love in your life and to be able to share that openly. Go for it!
Caffeinated January 05, 2013 at 02:06 PM
"For people like mike k this might be hard to believe[...] So when you get old think about this thread" mike k is already old, so don't sweat it. His opinion really doesn't matter and he's cranky because he knows it.
Caffeinated January 05, 2013 at 02:11 PM
"actually I am a multi millionaire, too bad for you, Ladue wanna be" Don't forget to solicit him to meet you in the park for a little "one on one," mikey. Haha, you are the gift that keeps on giving.
Dan Johnson January 05, 2013 at 11:08 PM
Person. I agree most young people understand anti-gay prejudice is not only irrational but harmful as well. Unfortunately though, it is still being taught. As demonstrated by hate crimes and in schools, there are still some young people who believe it is acceptable to harm gay people through denial of equal legal treatment, as well as through bullying and beating. Though all gay people have lived their entire lives being denied the equal treatment promised in our founding documents and constitution, we have come a long way since the time we could be locked up and tortured simply for being gay, and are close to achieving full legal equality. But don't assume it will happen all by itself. Even after prejudice is removed from the law, it will still be taught by some, and will still be used to cause harm in other ways. And it remains enshrined in the law in other parts of the world. While not directly affected here, we must remember "injustice anywhere, is a threat to justice everywhere." Unfortunately, there is still much work to do for your generation, just as there has been for all gay people, but I think your generation is better prepared.
mike k January 06, 2013 at 12:59 AM
Are we back on this tired old subject again. Gays will be allowed to marry soon in Illinois. Just move across the river and leave the normal people in Missouri alone. News flash, not all members of your generation believe in gay marriage. I have 2 sons and daughter in laws sure as in hell do not. Many other young Christians are against gay marriage. In the meantime, going to get a sandwich at Chick-Fil-A. Have a nice day perverts.
Dan Johnson January 06, 2013 at 01:53 AM
Doug. Congratulations on your marriage. Hopefully it will soon be recognized as equal by federal law and the rest of the states. There is no reason to treat your marriage any differently under the law. Fortunately 10 states and many other countries currently recognize marriage equality for gay people, with more on the way. Thanks for your efforts in countering the harmful and even deadly effects of the irrational prejudice we were all taught as children, and which continues to be taught by some, causing needless suffering and death, here and around the world. Wishing you happiness and increasing equality in the New Year.
Dan Johnson January 06, 2013 at 02:26 AM
Yes, mike, until gay people are treated as you would treat yourself under the law, you can expect to hear about the prejudice that for you is a tired old subject, but for gay people and those who care about them, remains a matter of importance sometimes to the point of life and death. Suffering and death are the extreme results of the belief being gay is not acceptable and we must change to heterosexual or live a life of chastity and denial of our humanity, or worse. Not all Christian groups judge and condemn, and some accept gay people as we are without condition. But those who demonize and punish us are killing us, and most of us reach a point where we decide to fight back rather than kill ourselves or accept discrimination quietly. Unless we accept punishment and dehumanization as a way of life, we have no choice but to challenge and oppose prejudice no matter where is comes from, and whether it is mild or extreme. Decades of history, literature, and science, in addition to trial records of many different courts have all clearly demonstrated: Prejudice and discrimination cause suffering and death.
mike k January 06, 2013 at 05:42 AM
Oh please you are so melodramatic it is laughable. I could care less what gays do behind closed doors although it does give me the creeps when you see two men kissing. It is just not right, it's perversion any way you look at it but if you want to live that way do it, just get out of my face about how we should accept it. Never can, never will and thank God I live in Missouri where gay marriage will never be legal. For the sake of my children and grandchildren I don't want our country to end up in moral decay like it happened during the fall of the Roman empire with their gay bath houses, orgies, etc.
Rich Pope January 06, 2013 at 05:46 AM
If two people want to be gay, be gay. I could give a rat's ass. Just don't call it marriage because that's a religious ceremony and the Bible has defined sex between two men as an abomination against God. Go get a civil ceremony or go to some new age church to get a "marriage" ceremony. Just leave the rest of us alone and quit trying to shove it down our throats with shows on television depicting gay people and their twisted lifestyles. Also, don't give me this crap about being "born gay". That's a load of horse manure.
Doug Nissing January 06, 2013 at 06:09 AM
All I can say in response to mike k and Rich Pope is ... wow.
Doug Nissing January 06, 2013 at 06:13 AM
Oh, and to Dan Johnson -- thanks for the thoughts. 21 years and counting. There have been great times, there have been challenging times. But we have worked at making life happen. I have to wonder how many people who post on this thread can say the same. Not that it matters. But thanks again.
Rich Pope January 06, 2013 at 07:01 AM
Also, gay people toss around the term "homophobic". This is another load of crap. If you don't like gays because what they do is gross, all of a sudden you hate them and are scared of them. What crap. I just don't want to have anything to do with them. They don't figure into my thinking, I don't try to help them or hurt them. I ignore them. Live and let live. It's not worth the time. If a show comes on television that has a homosexual theme, I change the channel. If a movie comes out with a homosexual theme, I go to a different movie. It's that simple folks. It's not rocket science.
ReverePaul January 06, 2013 at 07:18 AM
Guess what mike, the Constitution is not the same as the Bible. And if gays are allowed to be married in Illinois, what's going to stop them fro being married and other states, which is already happen. Your an old man in a changing world mike. Have a nice day dickwad
Mike K January 06, 2013 at 01:47 PM
@RichPope: since you weren't 'born straight' either, do tell us about your decision-making process and the options you carefully and thoughtfully evaluated when you made your choice to be 'straight'? After you were a legal adult, of course.
Mike K January 06, 2013 at 01:57 PM
Also, for those calling it a religious ceremony only and say they don't care what gay people do, I'll believe you when you give up and pay back all of those tax breaks and survivor benefits that your spouse has enjoyed all of these years being only 'religiously' married. If it is religious in nature only, then that term needs to NOT be anywhere near our state or federal constitutions. So which is it, Rich Pope and little mike?
Dan Johnson January 06, 2013 at 06:46 PM
There is no reason to believe treating gay people equally under the law led to the fall of the Roman Empire, or would harm current civilization. As Christianity was eventually accepted by the Romans, the rights of gay people were restricted. You can make a better case if you claim the increased persecution and denial of equality for gay people caused the fall of Rome. While no one has been able to demonstrate how treating others the way you would treat yourself under the law is harmful, we know for certain that prejudice and discrimination cause needless suffering and death.
Dan Johnson January 06, 2013 at 07:01 PM
Do atheists get married every day? Do people get married by judges, clerks, and Elvis impersonators in Vegas? Marriage is a legal contract that may or may not be sanctified by a religious ceremony. No religious ceremony is required for anyone. Yet as you realize, many religious groups recognize marriage equality and want to perform those ceremonies equally. Laws that deny equality prohibit those religious groups from practicing their religion as they see fit. You provide a glimpse of why no one would choose to be gay if it were a choice. Despite decades of evidence demonstrating people do not choose their sexual orientation, many still choose to use a few mistranslated bible verses to demonize and justify legal discrimination against gay people here and around the world, including imprisonment, torture, and death.
Dan Johnson January 06, 2013 at 07:13 PM
I don't care for the term "homophobia" because many believe it requires fear or hate. It does not. Negative attitude is all that is required: "Homophobia is a range of negative attitudes and feelings towards lesbian, gay, bisexual, and in some cases transgender and intersex people. Definitions refer variably to antipathy, contempt, prejudice, aversion, and irrational fear.[1][2][3] Homophobia is observable in critical and hostile behavior such as discrimination[1][2] and violence on the basis of a perceived non-heterosexual orientation. In a 1998 address, author, activist, and civil rights leader Coretta Scott King stated that "Homophobia is like racism and anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry in that it seeks to dehumanize a large group of people, to deny their humanity, their dignity and personhood."[4]" (Wiki) So aversion, and discrimination are enough to fulfill the definition. But because it is so frequently misunderstood, I prefer the term "anti-gay prejudice". Hate and fear are not required, and prejudice is clearly indicated by refusing to treat others as you would yourself under the law.
Dan Johnson January 06, 2013 at 07:23 PM
I appreciate your stated intent of "live and let live" and that you don't desire to "hurt them". Yet denial of equal treatment under the law does in fact cause harm, and cannot qualify as "live and let live". Only treating others as you would yourself under the law qualifies. While you have a choice of entertainment, you may not always have a choice of your doctor, EMT, waiter, chef, or the many other gay people with whom you come in contact, yet most of the time, you don't realize you are being helped by a gay person.
Dan Johnson January 06, 2013 at 07:38 PM
Ironically, much of the research showing orientation is not a choice, comes from efforts to change it. Not only have such efforts shown efforts to change orientation are not successful, but that they are often harmful to the point of self destructive behavior including suicide. "Contrary to claims of sexual orientation change advocates and practitioners, there is insufficient evidence to support the use of psychological interventions to change sexual orientation," said Judith M. Glassgold, PsyD, chair of the task force. "Scientifically rigorous older studies in this area found that sexual orientation was unlikely to change due to efforts designed for this purpose. Contrary to the claims of SOCE practitioners and advocates, recent research studies do not provide evidence of sexual orientation change as the research methods are inadequate to determine the effectiveness of these interventions." Glassgold added: "At most, certain studies suggested that some individuals learned how to ignore or not act on their homosexual attractions. Yet, these studies did not indicate for whom this was possible, how long it lasted or its long-term mental health effects. Also, this result was much less likely to be true for people who started out only attracted to people of the same sex." (APA)
Dan Johnson January 06, 2013 at 07:56 PM
As you know from experience what science has demonstrated; marriage has a stabilizing effect on relationships, helping many get through the challenging times rather than simply walking away. Logic suggests straight folks would encourage gay people to get married rather than trying to keep them from forming committed relationships. But then..."No prejudice has even been able to prove its case in the court of reason.” (Marguerite Gardiner)
Dan Johnson January 06, 2013 at 08:07 PM
Most straight people are not even aware there are over 1,138 federal rights and protections that automatically accompany marriage in addition to the state legal protections. Yet I doubt you will find any who are willing to give them up. They also never explain why those of no religious belief, as well as those of every religious belief, are allowed to marry if it is only a religious rite and not a fundamental civil right.
Dan Johnson January 06, 2013 at 08:16 PM
If nothing else, they demonstrate why no one would choose to be gay if it were a matter of choice. The only choice is deciding to live life as an authentic human being, or living a destructive life of lies and denial of our humanity.

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