Springfield City Council passes resolution that improves culture of inclusion and belonging for LGBTQ+ community members

Published: Jun. 5, 2023 at 9:25 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - After a heated discussion with 14 members of the Springfield community, the city council voted 8-1 to approve a resolution on cultural inclusion in the city.

The resolution was to affirm the commitment to the Five Pillars of Change detailed in the 2022 Mayor’s Initiative on Equity and Equality Report for LGBTQ+ and all Springfield citizens, and demonstrate the City Council’s dedication to collaboration to improve culture of inclusion and belonging.

The five pillars detailed by Mayor Ken McClure before voting on the resolution are:

  • Dialogue and Understanding
  • Cultural Consciousness
  • Advocacy and Partnerships
  • Structural and Systemic Barriers
  • Personal and Organizational Accountability

During the meeting, 14 people from both supporters and those against the resolution spoke and voiced their concerns. Each speaker was limited to three minutes.

One of the supporters of the resolution was Dr. Kyler Sherman-Wilkins, the president of the GLO Center. He voiced concerns and stated that the LGBTQ+ is under attack.

“This (resolution) should be the first of many steps to making sure that every single member of our community feels welcome, supported, secure, and safe in this city,” said Dr. Sherman-Wilkins.

One of the speakers against the resolution was Calvin Morrow, the executive director of Christians Uniting for Political Action. Morrow shared his thoughts and the thoughts of those of other spiritual leaders in the Springfield area.

“This resolution forces those with a biblical-based opinion on the topic of sex into a position of adversary. In other words, if this government formally affirms members of the LGBTQ+ community, then those outside of it are unaffirmed. On that basis, this resolution is formally unfair,” said Morrow.

The one council member who voted against the resolution was Councilman Derek Lee. He stated that he would not support the resolution because of some language in the bill.

“I have not heard from Springfieldians who desire the LGBTQ+ community to lose their rights or be discriminated against. This bill asks us to recognize Pridefest, our rich diversity,” said Lee.

He added the bill is divisive and asks the council to knowingly support events that some in Springfield oppose. After his time, Councilwoman Heather Hardinger spoke and refuted some of the comments he made about the specific language of the resolution. Hardinger was one of four sponsors of the resolution.

After every council member got a chance to talk, Mayor McClure spoke and shared why he voted in favor of the resolution despite his personal and religious views.

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