KIRKWOOD, MO - Following a unanimous vote, Dec. 20 from the Kirkwood City Council, Kirkwood became the tenth municipality in Saint Louis County to add sexual orientation and gender identity to their already established nondiscrimination policy. With the support of several local clergy members, Kirkwood Gay/Straight Alliance and the Community for Understanding Hope, the inclusion will affect around 27,000 residents of Kirkwood, Missouri.
The remedy of the policy was first introduced by the Kirkwood Human Rights Commission (KHRC), specifically President Darnel Frost and Vice-Chair Margaret (Maggie) Duwe.
Frost explained, "These protections are needed because it insures that no matter who you are, in Kirkwood you will have rights and protections. It insures that Kirkwood will be a welcoming community for ‘ALL.’ It also states that we value the rights of each and every member of our community.”
The ordinance took several months to perfect by the KHRC and the City Attorney John Hessel – who approved the legality of Bill No. 10248 at the introduction of the ordinance, despite the opposition that believes it violates the Missouri Constitution. Mayor Art McDonnell has openly supported this ordinance as well as Councilman Bob Sears.
AJ Bockelman, Executive Director of PROMO, points out the overwhelming support of the council and said, “As we advance nondiscrimination by city, county and throughout the State of Missouri, we know that more places like Kirkwood will become a more inclusive, supportive community. Even conservative areas like Kirkwood realize discrimination against the LGBT community is plain wrong and are working to do something about it by taking actions such as the City Council did tonight."