Let’s Hear It for New City Non-Discrimination Laws in Kansas

To the editor:

In 1993, Kansas City Mo., passed a city ordinance to include sexual orientation in its non-discrimination policies, and, in 2008, it added gender identity. This struggle was profiled last year in the documentary The Ordinance Project by Kansas City filmmaker Austin Williams (https://www.theordinanceproject.com/).

Now, 26 years later, the municipalities on the Kansas side of the metro area are finally doing the same thing. Could it be because of Democratic Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly, elected in 2018? Or perhaps because of U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids, the Democrat representing the Third District who is an open lesbian? Or is it because LGBTQ rights are now just mainstream and no longer controversial?

Whatever the reason, if you haven’t been paying attention to city councils in the Kansas suburbs of Kansas City, you should know that they’re all talking about us! And you should attend the council meetings in your city and speak up in support of these non-discrimination ordinances!

For the record, these cities HAVE already passed a non-discrimination ordinance:

  • Leawood
  • Merriam
  • Mission
  • Mission Hills
  • Mission Woods
  • Prairie Village
  • Roeland Park
  • Westwood Hills
  • Unified Government of Kansas City, Kan., and Wyandotte County

(Outside the metro, Lawrence and Manhattan have non-discrimination ordinances that offer comprehensive protections; Emporia, Hutchinson and Topeka have non-discrimination ordinances that protect city employees.)

These cities have NOT passed a non-discrimination ordinance:

  • De Soto
  • Fairway
  • Gardner
  • Lenexa (city staff is drafting an NDO)
  • Olathe (NDO was drafted and city staff to present public comments to City Council in September; vote has not been scheduled)
  • Overland Park (committee hearing scheduled for Sept. 4)
  • Shawnee (vote scheduled for Aug. 26)
  • Westwood (city staff is drafting an NDO)

Let your voice be heard!

Randy Hite

Kansas City, Mo.