KANSAS CITY, Mo. — In a heated debate, Prairie Village city council discussed an ordinance Monday to strengthen protections for the LGBTQ community. Council members voted 9-3 to send the ordinance forward for a final discussion in November.
The ordinance would strengthen protections for the LGBTQ community, who work or live in Prairie Village.
The state of Kansas currently offers no such protections.
“You never know what people’s preconceptions are. You never know, ‘Did I not get this job because I am not qualified or because of who I am?’” said Kaitlin Vaughn.
Vaughn and her wife have lived in Prairie Village for more than two years. She was one of dozens of residents who packed the city council, which was standing-room-only.
At several points throughout the night, the mayor invited residents to sit in an overflow conference room.
The discussion came after a regularly-scheduled city council meeting scheduled for Sept. 17 was canceled when several council members suddenly said they could no longer attend the meeting. It is still unclear if their cancellations had to do with the ordinance scheduled for discussion.
Non-Discrimination Ordinances in Other Cities
Because the state of Kansas offers no state-wide non-discrimination law, Vaughn and other supporters say it is up to individual cities to pass protections.
The cities of Lawrence, Manhattan and Topeka were among the first cities to pass non-discrimination ordinances (NDOs).
In 2014, Roeland Park passed its NDO. The Unified Government of Wyandotte County recently passed their own non-discrimination ordinance and city leaders in Mission are discussing one.
41 Action News reached out to all of the cities ahead of Monday’s meeting. Manhattan, Roeland Park and the Unified Government all reported there have been no requests for interventions or discrimination complaints since the ordinance passed.