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City Officials May Rescind Gay Rights Ordinance in Manhattan, KS

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Newly-elected city commissioners in Manhattan, Kansas, want to overturn a recently-passed ordinance that would protect LGBT residents in the areas of employment, housing and public accomodations.

Members of the previous commission approved the controversial anti-discrimination policy in early February by a 3-2 vote. But following elections earlier this month, the new batch of commissioners is now ready to repeal it.

Mayor James Sherow tells OutQ News that three commissioners in particular–two of whom were sworn in last Tuesday–have placed the measure up for debate during their May 3rd legislative hearing. If it passes both its first and second reading–which he says will likely happen–the policy will be overturned.

Sherow says the latest development is unfortunate, especially after local activists worked hard over the past year and a half to get the anti-bias protections passed.

SHEROW: “What I’ve informed the citizens of our community over and over again, I’m not interested in looking into the bedrooms of anyone heterosexual or otherwise–that’s not my business. My business is here to guarantee civil rights for all.”

But Sherow says opponents of the policy argue that the city doesn’t need LGBT protections, and that it’s just a symptom of an overbearing city government.

He says it also didn’t help that the two newly-elected commissioners pushing for repeal had the support of ‘Awaken Manhattan’–a group of 27 religious leaders that has already deemed the “well-intended” policy “unlawful” for its “sweeping” protections. ‘Awaken Manhattan’ leaders say they still support the “dignity and freedom” of LGBT individuals.

Sherow says he hopes the repeal will motivate progressive voters when they elect new commissioners in the coming years.

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Written by Xorje Olivares

April 26, 2011 at 4:48 PM

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