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News covering policy and issues related to city and county governments in the Ozarks.

Message of Equal Rights Continues for Gay Rights Advocates

Sabrina Pacella

Following Tuesday’s repeal of Springfield’s non-discrimination law on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, close to 2,000 people have expressed interest in attending a rally to support the LGBT community.

The #AllSpringfieldians: LGBT Support Demonstration is scheduled for 8 p.m. Friday at Park Central Square. It was organized by Missouri State University students Caleb Hearon and Chandler Classen.

In an email, Classen said hundreds of students from MSU and other campuses will be in attendance.  

“We are disheartened by the results of the election; we don’t believe that students and other community members have had their voices heard,” Classen said. “This issue is not only important to us but thousands of students and community members in Springfield; we believe that we must show the community the fight for equal rights is not over. “

More than 23 percent of registered voters participated in Tuesday’s election, with the repeal winning with 51.43 percent of the vote.

Classen added that a continued “cycle of oppression of LGBT individuals” will prevent many students from staying in the community.

Opponents of the ordinance had argued the law was not needed and violated their religious beliefs.

During a media day event Thursday, Springfield Mayor Bob Stephens said that the City Council cannot bring the ordinance back up for debate for another six months following the repeal. And it’s unclear what the interest of council will be. Voters also on Tuesday elected four new council members, and a new member will soon be appointed to fill the Zone 1 vacancy.

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