IMAGES: Large Group in Springfield Protests SOGI Repeal
Nearly a thousand Springfield residents and concerned citizens participated in a demonstration Friday night in response to the successful repeal of the city’s sexual orientation and gender identity ordinance.
Amongst the chanting, preaching and frustration rested a twinge of hope as both sides discussed the future of LGBT residents’ protections.
Caleb Hearon, a Missouri State University student, helped organized the demonstration.
“What’s next is we keep talking about it, in six months the city council puts it back up so we can talk about it some more,” Hearon said. “Hopefully those protections make everybody a little bit happier, we can reword it and work with both sides.”
Aaron Brummitt is a pastor at Lighthouse Baptist Church in Springfield.
“I believe the battle is not over, I believe that in five years if we were to put this to the public again that margin of 800 or so would be flip flopped, I believe that with all my heart,”Brummitt said. “As a pastor my battle isn’t against people, my issue is that I am fighting for their very soul, I care about them, I love them.”
Elijah Dickerson is a member of Queen City Voices, an organization that promotes equality and enrichment through music.
“No repeal may have lost their election, but we raised our percentage of votes, we were only 800 votes away from it,” Dickerson said. “If we get out tonight and raise some more notice and people realize what we are doing, instead of the 49 percent we will be the 51 percent.”
Supporters touted the sexual orientation and gender identity ordinance as one of fairness and equality for gay and transgender people, adding that it presented Springfield as a welcoming community. Opponents said the ordinance was unnecessary and infringed on their religious beliefs.
The issue has been debated in the city for more than two years after a February 2012 proposal by the Mayor’s Commission on Human Rights to add the protected class. In October 2014, the City Council voted 6-3 in favor of ordinance 6141. Concerned citizens and clergy then created a referendum to repeal ordinance. Those efforts, which sent the law to a vote, were officially successful last Tuesday.