After hearing from another wave of public speakers, The Wichita City Council voted Tuesday to postpone final action on the non-discrimination ordiance until October 12th.
Becky Tuttle, District 2 Council member, motioned to postpone action to allow the city’s Diversity, Inclusion, and Civil Rights Board to review and comment on the proposed law.
“Not with the intent of stalling this or the intent of making it weaker, but quite the opposite but making it stronger so that everyone can be protected,” Tuttle said. “Not everyone is discriminated against in the same way and I don’t think we heard from all of the groups who could be potentially impacted by this.”
The vote was 5-2 in favor of tabling the discussion, with Mayor Brandon Whipple and Vice-Mayor Brandon Johnson voting no.
Mayor Whipple stated that halting the ordinance jeopardizes citizens’ civil rights. “Time just for the sake of time doesn’t make sense. It means you’re trying to suffocate this. The fact is this has been vetted,” said Mayor Whipple
Whipple added, “We’ve had more public engagement. More online and in-person engagement than anything we’ve voted on all year. If anyone tells you it has to deal with the process, it’s because they can’t find a hole in the policy.”
Similarly to the previous readings, The Council heard from a variety of speakers, many of whom expressed support for the ordinance, while others expressed concern that it would have a detrimental effect on churches and gay rights.
Councilman Jared Cerullo, the council’s lone LGBTQ member, voted to postpone the vote in an attempt to mend the rift formed over the previous several weeks. He wishes to ensure that what is passed is correct.
Until then, the council intends to present the NDO to its committees, workshops, and other public gatherings for comments to determine whether any revisions are necessary.