The Kirksville City Council voted 3-2 Monday night to pass an ordinance that adds sexual orientation to its anti-discrimination policy. A similar ordinance failed on an earlier attempt in July, being shot down 3-2.
The deciding vote was Kirksville Mayor Richard Detweiler. He voted against the measure in July, and for it Monday night. Detweiler says it was a very difficult process that, looking back, he would have handled differently from the beginning.
Detweiler says the ordinance was re-written numerous times to try to appease both sides, but in the end, there was no middle ground.
He gave KBIA a candid interview on his thought process on the vote, and what it means for the city. You can listen to the whole interview here:
Detweiler says now the ordinance will create a “human rights compliance officer” that will be appointed by the City Manager. The original proposal would have created a 9-member commission. Detweiler says if a person feels they were discriminated against based on their sexual orientation when it comes to employment or housing, they can report the matter to the compliance officer. The ordinance also created an exemption for what Detweiler called “mom and pop” stores – anyone with 5 or fewer employees.
He hopes there will be no complaints, and says many major employers in the area already have policies preventing such discrimination in their human relations standards.