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A Petition To Repeal Roeland Park's Anti-Discrimination Ordinance Moves Forward

According to the Johnson County legal department, a petition to repeal Roeland Park's anti-discrimination ordinance can move forward.

If 472 registered voters sign the petition within 180 days, Roeland Park's City Council must either repeal the ordinance, which was approved in August, or place it on a citywide ballot. The county has approved the ballot language that will appear if enough support is garnered.

The northeastern Kansas city became the second in the state to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity last month. The law prohibits discrimination in employment, housing and public service. The measure passed after Mayor Joel Marquardt broke a 4-4 tie by the council.

Lawrence has a similar ordinance.

Susan Hunt, an attorney representing Linda Mau, a former councilwoman who submitted the petition, said the decision shouldn't be made by the council.

"The residents and constituents were evenly divided on the issue, so we think its best that voters decide," Hunt said.

Roeland Park is scheduled to hold a city election primary in February, if needed, and city elections in April, when a vote on the petition may be scheduled.

The anti-discrimination ordinance was introduced by councilwomen Megan England and Jennifer Gunby in March. It will go into effect on Jan. 1.

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