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Small MO City Passes Historic LGBT Legislation

July 29, 2011

OLIVETTE, Mo. - This week, the Olivette City Council passed two ordinances that provide protections for LGBT citizens. One includes sexual orientation and gender identity for the city's nondiscrimination ordinance; the other establishes a domestic partner registry.

Larger cities in Missouri — such as St. Louis, Kansas City, and Columbia — have passed similar ordinances, but Olivette is the first to pass all components simultaneously. Stephanie Perkins, deputy director for the statewide LGBT advocacy group Promo, says this is an historic move for Missouri.

"By passing everything all at once, it really is taking a significant stand, and saying that they do respect everybody who lives there, and they're going to show them by passing protections for them."

In some parts of the state, notes Perkins, a person can still be fired, denied housing or public accommodations based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Only a handful of other cities across the country have passed both measures at once, she adds.

According to Olivette Councilman Leif Hauser, city leaders wanted to offer protection to the growing diversity of the family composition of their community.

"We just thought that it was a move that would immediately provide, not only validation of those relationships and the people who are in those relationships, but also that it would extend them benefits."

Olivette's nondiscrimination ordinance goes into effect immediately. The domestic partner registry will be available for couples starting Sept. 1. Numerous attempts to pass a similar, statewide law for LGBT Missourians have failed.

Heather Claybrook, Public News Service - MO