HUTCHINSON, Kansas (KSN) -- By a narrow vote of 3-2, Hutchinson City Council approved an amended anti-discrimination measure in spite of the objection of dozens of people who packed a meeting at Memorial Hall.
"I grew up here and this is progress today," said ordinance supporter Jon Powell. "This was really progress."
A study conducted last summer showed some cases of discrimination in Hutchinson based on sexual orientation. Proponents of expanding legal protections to homosexuals had proposed an ordinance that would protect gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender people from discrimination in the workplace, housing, and guarantee them the same access to public spaces as heterosexuals.
Many in Hutchinson, especially Reno County's religious community, felt the ordinance went to far fearing it could lead to men dressed as women in women's restrooms as well as force shops and churches to do business with gays against their moral objections.
"It's a sin, a serious sin," said protester Francis Slobodnik. "Just like adultery or fornication. Very serious sins."
To win the vote of council member Bob Bush, transgender protections and public access requirements were removed from the ordinance.
The current ordinance will only prevent homosexuals and bisexuals from being fired or evicted because of their sexual orientation.
"If you want to get something done, you have to compromise," said Powell.
Hutchinson's city attorney will now draft the ordinance. The council will re-visit the issue at their June 5th meeting.