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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE An overflow crowd came out for Springfield City Council’s meeting Monday, Sept. 8, 2014. At issue was a proposed addition to the City’s non-discrimination ordinance, deeming sexual orientation and gender identity to be protected categories of persons from discrimination in the areas of employment, fair housing and public accommodations. Twenty-four people spoke in favor of the measure and 21 people spoke against it. Fire code limited the numbers of people on each floor of Historic City Hall, so an overflow crowd gathered outside the storied building, listening to the proceedings on loud speakers or watching it on the City’s livestream video broadcast. A Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) bill was originally brought forward in 2012 (as Council bill 2012-226) by the Mayor’s Commission on Human Rights. It included language that added sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of categories of persons protected from discrimination in all three areas of employment, housing and public accommodations. Following heated public discussion, which attracted national media attention, the bill was tabled and referred back to Council’s Community Involvement Committee, which ultimately referred the issue to an appointed task force representing a variety of viewpoints. The Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Task Force was created in November 2013, chaired by retired Judge J. Miles Sweeney. The SOGI task force delivered a final report that included two alternative recommendations. One of those recommendations (2014-189) was approved by the Community Involvement Committee to return to City Council this evening. It was very similar to the original 2012-226 bill that addressed all three areas of potential discrimination. A substitute bill presented tonight, followed the recommendation that received the most votes by the SOGI task force. It included an amended version of bill 2012-226 that removed all references of sexual orientation and gender orientation and gender identity, with the exception of in the area of housing. The substitute bill also suggested more study of the situation. Council is expected to vote on the issue Oct. 27, when all members are expected to be able to attend for the vote. # # # For more information, contact: Cora Scott, Director of Public Information & Civic Engagement, 417-864-1009 (office) | 417-380-3352 (cell), [email protected]