Topeka city council considers extending anti-discrimination protections to LGBTQ individuals

New York Daily News 2 months ago

City lawmakers in the capital city of Kansas want to extend anti-discrimination protections to include LGBTQ residents when it comes to their employment and housing.

According to the Topeka Municipal Code, residents are protected against discrimination on the basis of race, religion, creed, color, sex, disability, national origin or ancestry or age. Some residents want lawmakers to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected classes.

Speaking to council members on Tuesday, Commissioner William Naeger, from the city’s Human Relations Commision board, said that discrimination was a real concern for LGBTQ individuals in the city, and asked lawmakers to consider the changes.

Namely, “updating the language of the non-discrimination ordinance in reference to both housing and employment protections for different groups that in the past have been targeted,” Naeger told local news station KSNT.

Anti-LGBTQ discrimination protections are already available to city employees, but the commission wants all individuals who work and live in the city to be protected, as well.

“There’s no reason for them to hide who they are or evade certain questions just for them to have basic security in their workplace or their place where they live,” Naeger added.

“If they were to say something at work about like ‘What did you do this weekend?’ ‘Well, I went out with my significant other.’ But if I were to say that, just by having that small talk I might get fired,” Naeger said.

A council committee will study the proposal and come up with recommendations at a future date, according to KSNT.

Topeka’s discussion on discrimination protection for LGBTQ people during its city council meeting took place just hours after the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments on three landmark cases that will determine if it’s legal to fire a person for their gender identity or sexual orientation.


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