Last year, a few months after the Fayetteville City Council extended civil rights protections to its LGBT citizens, the Springfield, Mo. City Council did the same. Much like in Fayetteville, a repeal effort driven by the religious right got enough signatures on a referendum petition to ultimately let Springfield voters decide on a repeal. That’s scheduled for April 7.
The difference between Fayetteville, where the Chamber of Commerce supported repeal and a huge church effort funded the campaign for repeal, and Springfield? Springfield business and religious leaders have been outspoken against repeal.
“If Springfield repeals this ordinance, we will become known as a city that chose to exclude a segment of our population. And that is the wrong message,” said Tim Rosenbury, a past Chamber of Commerce president, according to a report from Ozarks Public Radio.
And how ’bout this, from Brentwood Christian Church’s Phil Snider, who along with pastors from Methodist and Baptist churches have spoken out against repeal:
“As a believer in Jesus, my faith calls me to treat people with dignity and passion and respect that includes everyone including those that are gay and transgender. If a person can be kicked out of their house because of their sexual orientation or gender identity they aren’t being treated with dignity or passion or respect and we need to make sure those are upheld.”
They’re joined by the Greater Springfield Board of Realtors and the Springfield News-Leader’s editorial board in supporting the civil rights ordinance.