SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Mirroring a wave of anti-equality efforts in state legislatures and cities across the nation, opponents of a recently passed LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance in Missouri’s third largest city are asking voters to repeal the law on April 7.
The ordinance, passed by the Springfield City Council last October, would amend the city’s current nondiscrimination ordinance by adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected categories in employment, housing, and public accommodations.
But any celebration was short-lived when the following month an opposition group successfully turned in more than 2,600 signatures (the threshold is 10 percent of the votes in the most recent April municipal election) to repeal the expansion through a ballot referendum known as Question 1.
Proponents of the repeal say they don’t want the regulations expanding into their businesses, their churches – or their bathrooms.
“We’re in a battle for our children and our children’s children,” said Calvin Morrow, Yes on Question 1 spokesman, the Springfield News Leader reports. Morrow went on to call the ordinance an attack on Christianity.
Article continues belowWhile Missouri LGBT advocates maintain that religious freedom is a fundamental part of Springfield and America, they reject such arguments, saying those beliefs do not allow for businesses to discriminate.
“Protecting people from discrimination, including people who are gay and transgender, is about treating others as we want to be treated,” said Stephanie Perkins, Deputy Director of PROMO, Missouri’s statewide LGBT advocacy organization.
“It’s not for us to judge. Even though we may have different beliefs, what’s most important is focusing on what we have in common – taking pride in our work, respecting coworkers and serving customers, and getting the job done,” said Perkins.