Merriam council scheduled to take up LGBTQ+ protections at meeting Monday

Jay Senter - October 22, 2018 11:50 am
City Councilman Al Frisby will introduce a non-discrimination ordinance in Merriam.

The Merriam city council is scheduled to become the third Shawnee Mission area governing body to take up a non-discrimination ordinance in the past month.

The NDO, which would provide legal protections to LGBTQ+ individuals that are not currently covered under state and federal law, would be very similar to the measures recently introduced in Mission and in Prairie Village.

The Merriam measure is being introduced by councilman Al Frisby, who notes in a memo including in the agenda packet for Monday’s city council meeting, that he has been working to get a measure introduced before the council for the past three years.

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Frisby said the his review of current city law and policy indicates that the Merriam employee handbook explicitly provides employment protections to LGBTQ+ individuals who work for the city — but that no protections exist for non-city employees.

“[The] Federal and KS state protections for this group of Merriam citizens are non-existent,” Frisby wrote. “[This] is a travesty.”

As it has done with the proposed ordinances in Mission and Prairie Village, the NEJC Chamber has issued a letter indicating its support for the measure in Merriam. Tonight’s packet also includes a letter of support from Reverend Mark Willis, pastor at Merriam Christian Church.

Willis said the proposed NDO would “promote the good values found in our hometown.”

“Ours is and should be a community that welcomes all of God’s children,” he said. “Policies like this make us a community of kindness and compassion.”

Frisby said Monday’s discussion will be just the first step in the development of the NDO, and that he plans to bring the measure forward formally next month.

“The City Administrator and I will meet to develop the new ordinance to be considered on 11/12/18 after our discussion 10/22/18,” Frisby wrote.

Roeland Park become the first northeast Johnson County City to approve an NDO in 2014

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