Wichita City Council votes to table non-discrimination ordinance until Oct. 12 following comments and debate

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WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A large crowd gathered at the Wichita City Council meeting for the non-discrimination ordinance vote on Tuesday. The council voted to eventually table the ordinance until the Oct. 12 meeting.

On July 6, the city council passed the non-discrimination ordinance 4-3 on the first reading. The ordinance was presented in the city council agenda packet on page 49.

The ordinance prohibits discrimination against persons because of their age, color, disability, familial status, gender identity, genetic information, national origin or ancestry, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, veteran status or any other factor protected by law in the areas of:

  • Employment
  • Housing
  • Public Accommodations

During Tuesday’s meeting, three people spoke about the non-discrimination ordinance during the public comment. After public comments, the council voted 7-0 to move the discrimination ordinance, which was on second reading, from the consent agenda to new council business so more people could speak on the issue. Many lined up after that to speak out in favor of and against the ordinance.

After hours of public comments, a discussion on the ordinance returned to the bench, where several council members stated that they felt the process had been rushed.

Council member Becky Tuttle motioned to table the non-discrimination ordinance for 90 days for more input and workshops. Council members Jeff Blubaugh, Becky Tuttle, Bryan Frye, Jared Cerullo, and Cindy Claycomb voted yes. Mayor Brandon Whipple and Vice Mayor Brandon Johnson voted no on the extension.

RELATED LINK | Watch the full meeting with comments and debate

After the meeting, city council members discussed their decisions to vote for and against tabling the ordinance.

“I haven’t seen this type of politics since I have been a legislator in Topeka. It’s very sad because it actually lost people their civil rights today,” said Mayor Brandon Whipple.

Whipple said he is losing hope that a non-discrimination ordinance will pass in Wichita.

“I’ve had people crying who have been here from the beginning. We started this weeks ago publicly here thinking that finally after 22 years, they would have the same protections that I enjoy,” said Mayor Whipple.

Council member Jared Cerullo said while he voted to approve the ordinance last Tuesday, the divide in the community can’t be ignored.

“I’ve been crying for the last four days. I have not slept since Thursday of last week. This is personal to me, deeply personal to me, and I will be the first person at the table to see where we move forward from here, and we will see this back in 90 days,” said Cerullo.

Cerullo said as an open member of the LGBTQ community. He was disappointed because he wanted to have more involvement in the drafting of the ordinance.

“I’ve continued to say, ‘hey mayor, we need to slow this down. We need to do our best to engage the people,'” said Cerullo.

Council member Becky Tuttle echoing the need for more time.

“I think if we do this right, and I think we will, this could be a beautiful thing for our community. We could pass a non-discrimination ordinance with a 7-0 vote that would be celebrated by everyone in Wichita with really good intention that has been thoroughly vetted,” said Tuttle.

People line up outside Wichita City Hall before the council meeting on the non-discrimination ordinance. Many outside were chanting and singing, “This is the day the Lord has made.” (KSN Video)

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