Roeland Park is providing positive leadership for the rest of Johnson County and the state of Kansas on gay rights.
City officials are considering passage of an ordinance that would prohibit discrimination against people because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, such as in employment and housing.
That’s the opposite approach of the nationally mocked “religious freedom” bill passed a few weeks ago by the Kansas House. It would have allowed businesses to discriminate against same-sex couples.
Fortunately, the measure died this year in the state Senate.
Roeland Park’s city leaders expect to discuss the matter more in upcoming weeks and should hold public hearings on it. A final vote by elected officials could come on April 21.
Lawrence is the only city in Kansas with a similar law.
Sandra Meade, the state chair of Kansas Equality, praised Roeland Park in a recent interview, saying the city was being a leader on an issue that has prompted emotional responses on all sides.
Meade hoped others would follow Roeland Park’s example, saying, “We’re very interested in working with all cities in Kansas.”
Indeed, if Roeland Park can do something like this, other Johnson County cities ought to examine the issue as well, including Overland Park, Olathe, Shawnee, Leawood and Lenexa.
Actions taken by these cities would indicate Johnson County is more progressive on civil rights than many state lawmakers who unfortunately still think it’s OK to promote discrimination against gays.