Voters in Springfield, Missouri on
Tuesday narrowly repealed an ordinance that prohibited discrimination
in employment, housing and public accommodations based on sexual
orientation and gender identity.
Fifty-one percent of voters voted for
A.J. Bockelman, executive director of
PROMO, an LGBT rights group, called the vote disappointing.
“We are still here for each other,
and we will work together to continue to make Springfield a welcoming
place for ALL people,” he said in a statement. “Tomorrow, just as
today, we continue working to achieve equality.”
“Everyone in Springfield, including
LGBT people, should be able to live, work, and care for their family
without fear of discrimination,” said HRC National Field Director
Marty Rouse in a statement. “While yesterday was a difficult
setback for equality in Springfield, the fight goes on and the future
is bright. We were proud to support the thousands of fair-minded
voters in Springfield who cast ballots to defend equality in the
election, and we're committed to ensuring that equality will
ultimately prevail in Springfield and throughout the state of
The ordinance was approved in October
by the Springfield City Council. Almost immediately, opponents began
work on a petition drive to repeal the law.
Spearheading the effort was Christians
United for Political Action
“The only issue that we have is we do
not want to recognize and participate and lend our voice to gay
marriage. That's it,” Calvin Morrow, the group's leader, told
However, the Rev. John Lindell, head of
James River Church, compared being gay to being an alcoholic or an
adulterer in a sermon last month urging congregants to repeal the
“It is possible for someone who has
practiced a life of adultery to stop,” he
said. “It is possible for someone who has been a life-long
alcoholic to stop. It is possible for somebody who has a cutting
tongue and big mouth to stop. It is possible for someone who is
engaged in homosexual behavior to stop.”
Lindell added that gays will not make
it to heaven.
Thirteen other Missouri cities have
approved similar laws.