Topeka, KS – Topeka City Councilman Chad Manspeaker (District 6) announced his intentions earlier today to expand the scope of the Topeka Human Rights Commission to include protections for sexual orientation and gender identity.
Manspeaker, in explaining the ordinance, said:
“It is time for us as Topekans to remove the cloud of hate and bigotry from our city and to show the world we are an inclusive and loving community who protects all of its citizens. To some, the addition of five words to the Topeka City Code is a small change; however, to the countless citizens who face discrimination, these five words are an enormous change to our city code. I believe that this change is long overdue. I also believe we have a different council. A council that, I hope, believes all Topekans are equal under the law. For we can each believe what we want to believe, we can say what we want to say, but when it comes to how government interacts with citizens it must be equal for all.”
The current duties and responsibilities of the organization are to:
“Support efforts to eliminate prejudice because of race, religion, creed, color, sex, disability, national origin or ancestry, or age and further goodwill among all people of the city and promote goodwill, cooperation and conciliation within the city;”
City Councilman Manspeaker’s addition to the ordinance would add “sexual orientation and gender identity” to the express list of targets for the elimination of prejudice within the City of Topeka:
“Support efforts to eliminate prejudice because of race, religion, creed, color, sex, disability, national origin or ancestry, or age, sexual orientation or gender identity and further goodwill among all people of the city and promote goodwill, cooperation and conciliation within the city…”
“For the last month, I have worked to bring this ordinance. No one could have predicted the decision of the United States’ Supreme Court last week when they ruled Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional,” said Manspeaker. “While this change is not in response to the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Windsor, the timing couldn’t be better.”