Marching Backwards: Voters In Missouri Decide To Strip Civil Rights From LGBT Residents

LGBT_flag_map_of_Missouri

By a narrow 51.4 to 48.6 percent margin, voters in Springfield, Missouri’s 3rd largest city, repealed a six-month-old city ordinance on Tuesday. The ordinance, which passed the city council by a 6-3 vote in October 2014, extended protections from discrimination to LGBT residents. Opponents of the non-discrimination law were able to gather enough signatures to put a repeal measure on the ballot. On Tuesday, their efforts paid off, as voters elected to repeal the nondiscrimination law.

Turnout was high, as residents on both sides of the issue were motivated to weigh in on the divisive repeal measure. The faith community of Springfield was split. Justin Burnett, a vocal supporter of the repeal effort, who also won a race for a city council seat, argued:

A lot of people of faith thought this ordinance neglected their constitutional and God-given rights. So it is a victory for the faith community.

Calvin Morrow, a leading spokesperson for the “yes on Question 1 campaign” also sounded a distinctly religious tone when he stated:

We’ve just been hoping and praying. Trusting that God would handle it.

Springfield, Missouri is often referred to as the buckle of the Bible Belt, and it serves as the international headquarters for the fundamentalist Assemblies of God Church. However, not all local religious leaders supported the repeal of the non-discrimination ordinance.

Reverend Phil Snyder of Brentwood Christian Church, which bills itself as “Springfield’s Bible Belt Alternative”, was disappointed in the outcome. He had hoped voters would send a message that Springfield is a city that is welcoming to all people. Tuesday’s election represents a serious setback for the city trying to project a more inclusive image.

While it would be easy for opponents of LGBT rights to hail Tuesday’s election results as a victory for their reactionary anti-gay agenda, the closeness of the vote doesn’t bode well for them. Pro-equality activists also should take heart in the fact that although they fell short in preserving the non-discrimination ordinance, the vote was close.

To be sure, the repeal of the law is bad news for LGBT residents of Springfield and proponents of LGBT equality. However, when one considers that Greene County, where Springfield is located, voted 61-37 for Mitt Romney over Barack Obama in 2012 and that the city is the buckle of the Bible Belt, the tightness of the election suggests that equality will be back sometime soon.

The city of Springfield, Missouri took a step backwards on Tuesday. That is unfortunate. However, the fact that the forces of bigotry essentially played to a draw in the buckle of the Bible Belt suggests that the step backwards may be only temporary. Equality will eventually win the day, not only in America, but in the Bible Belt as well.

Image via Wikimedia

13 Replies to “Marching Backwards: Voters In Missouri Decide To Strip Civil Rights From LGBT Residents”

  1. Your response was similar to mine. Awfully close considering where it was.
    And, if this had been on the ballot in a higher voter turnout election, results would have quite possibly been the reverse.

    Unfortunately, in general, hatred and bigotry tends to bring out a higher percentage of voters than acceptance and tolerance.

  2. These anti-gay laws will never stop until Republicans admit that being gay is a human condition like race and gender, and NOT a choice people make. I’m not going to hold my breath that they will ever admit this because gay-hate is a perfect distraction from their fascist agenda. The only way to force change on this issue is for decent human beings to get off their butts and vote these cretins out of office.

  3. You have to believe!
    …if we only close our eyes, we could live in the 1700’s we would all be so much happier, no ‘weird” people, no minorities,no females demanding to get paid for the jobs they do.
    I would be just us killing the Native people of the colonies and (some can be)reading our good book”…
    la,la, la…

  4. Thanks to decades of lies the GOP has created a schism of bigotry, racism & intolerance throughout the country that will only increase unless the GOP RW Conservative TP is held accountable for their constant half-truths, lies & fabricated conspiracy theories.

    States & courts that have been allowed to ignore laws passed during Obama’s tenure as president & states that pass laws calling for insurrection & violence against Obama, the Democrats or anyone who believes differently with no punitive consequence for their contempt, lawlessness & treason have only become more emboldened & extreme.

    President Obama didn’t cause these divisions in the country. The only thing Obama’s presidency did is show the US how racist much of the country still is & sadly will always be.

    It’s pathetically sad how angry & destructive people become when they’re faced with a truth about themselves they can’t stomach like their hated of blacks, LGBTs & people with different religious beliefs.

  5. « A lot of people of faith thought this ordinance neglected their constitutional and God-given rights. »

    no, no irony there.

    such ego defense mechs from conservatives.

  6. I have backed the minorities all my life, as I am half Cherokee and 100% American. That being said, it sickened me to see how many Liberal and Conservative Gays that donated to Memories pizza place. If they want to be punished, why should any person try to help them anymore.

  7. This is all politics for the upcoming Presidential 2016 election.

    This is how Bush was re-elected in 2004 he campaign was against same sex marriage and he won by 3 million votes. Considering his low approval ratings at the time it worked. After the 2016 election all of this will go away . . . for awhile.

  8. “An ELECTIVE DESPOTISM was not the government we fought for.” (James Madison, Federalist Paper 48)

    Elective despotism amounts to tyranny as does any elective despotism by a majority amount to tyranny.

    Bills of Rights exist to protect citizens from these kinds of tyranny.

  9. I’m VERY curious, where are ALL the “LOG CABIN” republicans at?? LOL and I thought BLACK republicans was the bottom of the barrel

  10. Methinks that the Christians’ Christ would not have voted for such a repeal.

    But that dude was so out of there anywho.

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