Councilors were asked to submit questions that they feel need to be answered about the ordinance this week so they can be placed on the agenda for the workshop. The discussion will be in preparation for a vote that could come as early as the June 16 council meeting. Earlier this year the council had anticipated voting in April, but that has been pushed back twice.
Council meetings have been filled with public comment on both sides of the issue and Monday night’s committee of the whole meeting was no exception. While the crowd fit into the council chambers Monday, unlike a previous overflow session in May, it was a full house again with several speakers signed up to talk. The comments Monday were predominantly in favor of passing the ordinance.
In a new wrinkle, one citizen passed out stickers at the door to Roeland Park residents, identifying them as living in the city. Some of the speakers at council meetings have lived outside the city, which has been brought up in the debate.
At least four of Monday’s speakers were from outside Roeland Park, and some told personal stories about their lives involving sexual orientation or gender identity, both of which would become protected classes under the proposed ordinance.
Matt Thomas of Roeland Park said the ordinance would be the right move for the council. There are “angry, vicious people living here in the Midwest,” he said. Tom Phillips, was another Roeland Park resident who supported the ordinance and reacted to a recent presentation by the Alliance Defending Freedom.
The ordinance has undergone recent revisions designed to exempt churches and schools from its provisions.