(HUTCHINSON, Kan.)—Discrimination laws in Hutchinson protect people from losing a job or not renting a home based on their race, age or religion. But sexual orientation is not on that list. Some want that to change.
Before city council members take that step, they are asking for the publics help.
About 100 people came out to Memorial Hall in downtown Hutchinson Thursday. Some spoke in favor of changing the city's discrimination law, saying it is long over due.
"When they found out that I was a lesbian, they evicted me the same day," said Hutchinson resident Payge Carter. "I also worked for a very well known company here in Hutchinson, that the day they found out I was a lesbian I was fired."
But others are strongly opposed to the ordinance being amended.
"I believe it it wrong to create a protective class for people just because they choose to live different lifestyles," said one opponent.
Many opponents cited religious reasons, and budget concerns
This is the second of three public forums before the Hutchinson Human Relations Commission. The nine member board will use the comments to make a recommendation to the city council.
""This is great because our fear was no one would come," said Board Chairman Jill Crank. "So this has been wonderful."
No matter what Hutchinson decides, lawmakers may have the final say. On Wednesday, house members approved a bill that would let anyone opt out of anti-discrimination laws. But the senate has yet to vote on that issue
That won't stop the final forum from taking place this Saturday from 1-3pm at Memorial Hall.
The commission hopes to have a recommendation to the city council sometime in early May.