LGBT amendment passes first hurdle in Kokomo

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KOKOMO, Ind. (March 7, 2016)- With a close vote, another central Indiana city is one step closer to changing its rules to protect the LGBT community.

During a special meeting, the Kokomo City Council voted 5-4 in favor of passing an amendment that would include gender identity and sexual orientation to the city’s human rights code.

Monday’s meeting was standing room only where council members heard more than an hour of public comment from residents on both sides of the controversial LGBT amendment.

“Enough is enough. I would hope and pray that would take this ordinance off the table and forget about,” said James Quirk, a Kokomo resident who opposes the LGBT amendment.

"Just let us be us. We are people. We are no different than anyone else. Our right should be just as valid,” said  McKenzie Leech, a Kokomo High School student, in favor of the LGBT amendment.

Adding the LGBT language to Kokomo’s ordinance would give protection to lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender citizens.  This move comes after the State Senate killed legislation earlier this month.

“I don’t think enough thought has gone through to put this in the right context so with that said I voted no until cooler heads prevail and we can think about this,” said Kokomo council member Tom Miklick.

“I voted yes, because to me I feel like the LGBT community just wants the right to be treated as everyone else would like to be treated,” said councilwoman Janie Young.

This is the first of two votes. The next vote will be at a meeting on Monday. There is scheduled public comment at that meeting as well.

If the amendment passes, it will require the mayor’s signature.

Kokomo would join about 20 other cities in Indiana with similar ordinances.