Johnson County petitioners work to repeal Roeland Park anti-discrimination ordinance


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ROELAND PARK, Kansas — A petition to repeal Roeland Park's anti-discrimination ordinance can move forward, according to the Johnson County legal department.

The county has approved the ballot language that will appear if enough support is garnered, the Kansas City Star ( ) reported. If 472 registered voters sign the petition within 180 days, the City Council must either repeal the ordinance, which was approved in August, or place it on a citywide ballot.

Susan Hunt, an attorney representing Linda Mau, a former councilwoman who submitted the petition, said the decision shouldn't be made by the council.

"The petition isn't for or against the ordinance, it is to allow voters to decide," she said. "Our taxpayer money will go to enforce this, so it should be up to the voters."

The city became the second in the state to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity last month. The law prohibits discrimination in employment, housing and public service. The measure passed after Mayor Joel Marquardt broke a 4-4 tie by the council.

"The residents and constituents were evenly divided on the issue, so we think its best that voters decide," Hunt said.

Roeland Park is scheduled to hold a city election primary in February, if needed, and city elections in April, when a vote on the petition may be scheduled.

The anti-discrimination ordinance was introduced by councilwomen Megan England and Jennifer Gunby in March. It will go into effect on Jan. 1.

Lawrence has a similar ordinance.

Information from: The Kansas City Star,

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