OLIVETTE, MO - This evening (July 26), the Olivette City Council passed, with a unanimous vote, two pieces of legislation that would include nondiscrimination protections for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community of Olivette in employment, housing and public accommodations, as well as the creation of a Domestic Partner Registry.
Through the leadership of Councilman Leif Hauser, Olivette will become the first City in Missouri not only to pass a nondiscrimination ordinance inclusive of both sexual orientation and gender identity at the same time, but also one of the few cities across the country to have created a Domestic Partner Registry along with the discrimination protections.
"Olivette is a community rich with diversity. We view this as one of our strengths and assets. In implementing a Domestic Partner Registry while also taking the opportunity to augment our non-discrimination policy, we thought we could make a real and positive impact not only in Olivette, but in the lives of Olivette residents and City employees too," says Councilman Leif Hauser. "As a Council, we believe in the merits of extending the rights and protections contained in these two bills. Beyond Olivette, it will be up to other bodies of elected officials in neighboring cities and at the County and State levels to take action as they see fit."
In most parts of Missouri, hardworking lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens face the constant reality that they could be fired from their job for being LGBT and be denied access to housing and public accommodations. Olivette will join Saint Louis City, Kansas City, and University City, who offer fully inclusive protections for both sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as Columbia and Kirksville, who offer basic protections, but are limited in scope.
In addition to nondiscrimination, a Domestic Partner Registry was also passed. Such a registry is not marriage; however, it does create a system where individuals in committed and caring relationships can make their relationship a matter of record. This would make it easier for couples to receive nominal benefits such as visitation in health care facilities and in cases of incarceration, recognition under employers' health insurance benefits, and access to recreational facilities. Olivette will join Saint Louis City, Kansas City, Columbia, University City, and Jackson County, which already have domestic partner registries for same-sex couples.
A.J. Bockelman, Executive Director for PROMO -- Missouri's statewide advocacy organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality -- said of the vote, "We are pleased with tonight's historic unanimous vote in Olivette. Having Olivette pass both inclusive nondiscrimination protections for sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as creating a domestic partner registry, clearly is a testament to the change in opinion around LGBT issues not only in St. Louis County, but in Missouri."
Olivette's nondiscrimination ordinance will go into effect immediately, however the domestic partner registry will be made available for couples starting on September 1st, 2011.