This makes Richmond Heights the fourth city in St. Louis County to protect Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender citizens. The other cities include University City, Olivette and Clayton. Bravo to the good work of the residents who pushed for their elected officials to draft and pass this ordinance this evening.
The bad news is two of the Richmond Height Council members voted against the new ordinance. Those two members are:
Mr. Michael Jones protested the vote from the beginning of the second reading. He spoke about how the bill quoted both State and Federal human rights that "just are not there." Mayor James Beck had to correct Mr. Jones several times, explaining that the bill "embodies" the human and civil rights already afforded by both the State and Federal Constitutions. Michael didn't buy it and pursued different avenues, going through his list on a pad of paper.
"Say there are Catholic landlords who rent to people who go against their religious beliefs. If we pass this ordinance tonight, we will be discriminating against their religious rights," claimed Mr. Jones.
"Furthermore, sometime ago this City Council had to determine if the City had a right to get involved if water was running off a resident's property onto another resident's property, causing damage. Our Council decided to not get involved and let the residents go to court for due process. Well passing this bill 5341 would be the opposite of what this Council decided in that case. We would take away the due process for the religious landlords who want to decide whom they should or should not rent too."
Mr. Edward Notter chimed in at one early juncture to remind the Council about when a group of residents came to City Hall to get a bill to allow chickens on properties. Edward felt like the Council seems to do whatever people ask when they appear before City Hall. Apparently someone has not told Mr. Notter that this is actually the way City politics and democracy works! Residents and neighboring residents come forward with ideas, ways to better their communities by proposing new legislation to solve problems. Apparently Mr. Notter didn't get this lesson in civics 101; rather, Ed was determined to poison the whole vote by suggesting LGBT lobbyist were coming into Richmond Heights, shaking down the Council with party favors and pink cash. Sheesh, where do these Council members come from?
Back to Council member Jones.
He didn't give up, even after Council woman Gina Mitten made a motion for a vote. There was a pause for governing procedures since there was a debate, even if only from the two wacko doodles who were clearly getting their marching orders from the Catholic Archdiocese and Tea Party.
Once the motion was made to decide to vote or continue to debate, the members who wanted to debate won. Mayor Beck sided with more debate, out of compassion to at least hear the two homophobes.
Mr. Jones continuing reading his list of concerns. He said he contacted the Archdiocese, and how they recommended against passing the ordinance. I am not sure if the Archdiocese suggested or if Michael just gleaned this from the Catholic leadership; but it was somehow presented that if the bill passed tonight, Catholic landlords would sell their properties and move out of Richmond Heights. Snickers and laughter came from the packed City Hall. Michael continued to suggest that the Archdiocese said that these sub-groups only pass these laws, from city to city, to gain civil rights that do not exists. That the mere passing of this new ordinance would give more rights to LGBT people than they deserve.
Both Council members, Gina Mitten and Matt Casey decided to appeal to some logic. Mrs. Mitten suggested to Mr. Jones that the same was said about African-Americans and women. That their rights were also challenged under the same twisted logic. Matt Casey suggested that many religious people support the basic protections of all human beings when it comes to housing. That was when Council member Michael Jones verbally attacked Council member Casey, "these people need to follow religion and you should too." That was when Mayor Back stopped it, "now we are totally getting off track here."
Council member Paul Lore stepped in and said, "Michael and Ed, we may agree on certain things, but on this we do not. Can you please tell me on what religious grounds would a Catholic or any religious landlord have against gays living in their apartment? Are gays made to live in caves?" The entire City Hall broke out again in laughter. Mr. Jones and Mr. Notter were both losing their homophobic battle with this crowd and Council. Even after frantic appeals by Council member Jones to table the bill and appeal it to St. Louis County Council and the State of Missouri, "we should ask them, a higher power to make these sorts of decisions before we grant new sub-classes of protections for sub-groups of people. Let them make these answers, not us!"
It was clear, Council members Michael Jones and Edward Notter were done. Roasted. Fried. They had not a shred of evidence to back up all their homophobic claims. They tried to use the weight of the Archdiocese, who they claimed did not support these such ordinances. They tried to scare the Council by suggesting they were taking away due process from potential property owners. And lastly, they tried to raise the issue of Gay Inc, a secret rainbow lobbying organization, infiltrating Richmond Heights!
Nothing worked! They were uncovered for what they truly are, BIGOTS. So I leave you with their emails, their phone numbers and their pictures. Please call, write, and email their faces all over your social media. Let's make sure these two idiots never stop hearing the words, "Hey bigot!" And let's find some residents in their wards to run against them. Both of their terms are up in 2014, so that gives us 2 years to find some better quality Council members for their wards.