Maplewood Council Bans Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination
The council passed the bill Tuesday night, in spite of fears of council members, including the mayor, that the law could be taken advantage of.
Maplewood joined St. Louis City and five St. Louis County municipalities Tuesday night when the city council outlawed discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Richmond Heights, Clayton, University City, Creve Coeur and Olivette have passed similar laws.
The council gave a majority of yes votes to Bill 5877 in its first two readings on Sept. 11, but not without controversy.
Mayor James White and council members Karen Wood (Ward 1) and Fred Wolf (Ward 2) voted against the measure at the Sept. 11 meeting and Tuesday night.
“I fear unintended consequences from the law,” Wood said following the final vote. “Discriminating and being hateful to people, that is not who I am. I am afraid of this type of law, not because of the spirit of the law, I get that. It’s the unintended ramifications that I fear. That’s why I voted the way I did.”
White and Wolf both had no comment following the meeting, though at the Sept. 11 meeting White said the law could be taken advantage of.
Councilman Shawn Faulkinghham (Ward 3) said the council made a statement that “we believe it’s important to protect people’s identities, no matter what they are.”
“This country was founded on personal freedoms and religious freedoms, and this is a step in the direction that makes sure people aren’t discriminated against for being who they are,” Faulkingham said.
“We have an extraordinarily diverse community, and it adds to protect that diversity,” he said.
In the public comments before the vote eight speakers spoke in favor of passing the bill and one spoke against it.