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Topeka Passes Ordinances To Establish Domestic Partnerships, Reduce LGBT Discrimination

The Topeka City Council approved two ordinances Tuesday to reduce discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. 

The council approved establishing a city domestic partnership registry for same-sex and opposite-sex couples who are not married. It approved a second ordinance that bans the city from discriminating in employment and hiring based on gender identity. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports measure also requires the city to make a good faith effort to provide health coverage for any city employees registered as part of a domestic partnership.

Councilman Chad Manspeaker,  who sponsored the ordinances, said the approval tells the rest of the world "that Topeka is an open, inclusive community and that we welcome all people here and we look forward to grow in that direction."  

Topeka joins Lawrence as the only two cities in Kansas that have domestic partner registries. Both measures were decided after the council rejected a motion to put the issues up for a public vote. 

The council passed both ordinances with 5-3 votes. The city attorney will now determine the costs and procedures for how the registry will work.