WATCH: Discrimination Law Draws Objections Over Religion, Property Rights

City Council eventually voted 6-2 to adopt the ordinance prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, and several residents expressed gratitude for the ordinance.

*Editor's note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified the two City Council members who voted against the discrimination ordinance. District 3 Councilman Ed Notter and District 2 Councilman Mike Jones voted against the bill. This article has been updated to reflect the correct names.

The Richmond Heights City Council voted 6-2 on Monday to adopt a law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Council members opposed to the proposal voiced frustrations with the move, while several residents expressed their appreciation.

I'm "very proud of Richmond Heights," said Cindy Brown, a 20-year resident of the city, in remarks to the council at .

Her partner of 30 years, Cynthia Dodson, said the couple are informal mayors of their block. They participate in , cook for older residents and invest in their block, Dodson said.

They also raised a son together, and she said he did "suffer discrimination for having two queer moms."

Dodson said she and Brown want their home to be a safe spot for people.

"It's really important that our children are protected when their families look different," Dodson said. She asked the council to take the issue seriously and to put its arms around the city's productive citizens.

Matt Voorhees said he supports the measure. He said he and his partner live, work, shop and pay taxes in the city.

But during discussion of the bill, District 3 Councilman Ed Notter said the council is "continuing to roll over" at the request of a handful of people. He referenced the city's recent as opposed to .

District 2 Councilman Mike Jones said no complaints about such discrimination have been placed with the city or the . He pointed out that neither St. Louis County nor the state of Missouri have laws on the books prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

"I'm having a hard time saying that we're going to enforce their laws when there are no laws," Jones said.

He also said he has spoken with Richmond Heights landlords who don't want the legislation because of their religious faith. The legislation does not give due process to these people, who know what the best use of their property is, he said.

Jones referenced a law City Council adopted in years past involving water that ran from one homeowner's property into the lawn of another. The city determined that the neighbors should have to go to court to resolve the problem as opposed to using city money to address the issue.

By adding this ordinance, Jones said, the city is going "right back the opposite direction," making the council judge and jury.

District 1 Councilman Paul Lore said he would vote in support of the measure.

"I don't know of any religion that says gay people have to live in caves," Lore said.

The Missouri advocacy group PROMO released a statement in support of the decision shortly after the vote.

"This vote serves as another clear indication of local municipalities having a vested interest in protecting all of its citizens from discrimination," stated A.J. Bockelman, the executive director of the group that advocates for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. "As we continue to educate Missourians on LGBT issues, we are finding more and more allies and supporters who believe that their City should protect them.”

Those who voted in support of the legislation were Mayor James Beck, District 1 councilmen Paul Lore and Matt Casey, District 2 Councilman Jim Thomson, District 3 Councilwoman Gina Mitten and District 4 Councilwoman Camille Greenwald.

Notter* and Jones voted against the measure. District 4 Councilwoman Connie Williams could not attend Monday's meeting.

The earlier this year, .

The Richmond Heights legislation will go into effect in a month.

Cindy March 21, 2012 at 02:53 PM
You might want to correct the statement toward the end where it states "Lore and Jones voted against the measure." It was actually Notter and Jones that voted against the measure. Paul Lore represents my Richmond Heights district, and I am very happy with the way he voted, and I would like to see it clarified.
Nate Birt March 21, 2012 at 03:23 PM
My sincere apologies, Cindy. You are absolutely right and I will get this corrected as quickly as possible.
Linda Lieb March 21, 2012 at 03:51 PM
Nate, Great job of reporting!!! I appreciate the city council's decision. It's wonderful to see that most of our council members want progress and positive change in our fair city.
Nate Birt March 21, 2012 at 04:33 PM
I've updated this article to reflect that Mr. Notter and Mr. Jones voted against this measure, while Mr. Lore voted in favor of it. Thanks for your help, Cindy.
John Mehoff March 21, 2012 at 07:18 PM
Nate, does the Richmond Heights law extend to bestiality and relationships with inanimate objects like the Clayton law? I'm really proud of the Richmond Heights City Council too. I wonder if this important, trendy law will solve the lack of sales tax revenue and the crime problem at the Galleria. But really, who cares about crime and tax revenue? Richmond Heights has symbolically opened up its arms to welcome everyone and the council members can feel good about themselves; that’s important.


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