MAPLEWOOD, Mo. – Seven St. Louis county municipalities now offer protections for their LGBT citizens following a 4-3 vote on Tuesday from the Maplewood City Council.
Scores of supporters, along with opponents, were on hand to witness the historic vote — Maplewood Mayor James White continued his vocal opposition to the ordinance, which would make it illegal to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in housing, employment and public accommodation.
“In the last several years, citizens continue to realize that there are still groups of people who have not been able to participate fully in the life of the country. As representatives of Maplewood, it is our duty to ensure that all of our citizens are able to participate in all aspects of our City,” said Councilman Tim Dunn.
“Nondiscrimination protections were set-up to protect individuals who have been kept out of our society. In order to keep Maplewood a city that is open and welcoming to diversity, we must stand together to protect the rights of all our citizens, gay, lesbian, transgender and heterosexual,” he said.
Maplewood joins a growing list of Missouri cities, including Saint Louis City, Kansas City, Columbia, Jackson County, University City, Olivette, Clayton, Richmond Heights, Creve Coeur, and Ferguson who have extended fully inclusive LGBT protections.
“I was at the meeting last night, and heard the speakers from both sides,” said local resident Michael Reiser.
“Obviously, the anti ones always hurt a bit. After I went home, I thought about how this will affect me. I seriously doubt (and hope) that this ordinance will never have a direct impact on me. But the affirmation from my city and the pride that I feel about living in a progressive city cannot be measured and both are incredibly important to me.”
PROMO, Missouri’s statewide LGBT advocacy organization worked closely with Dunn and his fellow council members to secure the win. The organization says more victories are on the horizon.
“This evening’s vote is again another indication that municipalities in all parts of St. Louis County are working to remedy the exclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens from their nondiscrimination protections,” says PROMO Executive Director, A.J. Bockelman.
In the state of Missouri, LGBT citizens can still be fired from their jobs, denied housing and refused access to public accommodations and services.
PROMO is the sponsor of the perennial Missouri Non-Discrimination Act (MONA) that would extend the existing Missouri Human Rights Statute to include sexual orientation and gender identity as protected categories.