The Roeland Park City Council will discuss the possibility of another vote on its recently defeated anti-discrimination ordinance tonight during a committee of the whole meeting that has been moved to the Roeland Park Community Center, a venue that accommodates more people than the council chambers at city hall, at 6 p.m. The agenda recommends only a “discussion” on whether the vote on the anti-discrimination ordinance “should take into account all voices in the Governing Body.”
The ordinance, which would have added protections for gender identity and sexual orientation, was defeated on a 4-3 vote July 21. However, councilor Becky Fast was absent from the vote. Fast reported that she was in an auto accident on the way to the meeting. The ordinance, long debated in Roeland Park, needed five votes to pass. Mayor Joel Marquardt, who did not vote that night, said he would have voted in favor of the ordinance had there been four positive votes from the council.
An item on tonight’s agenda, being brought forward by the mayor and council president Marek Gliniecki, says that many citizens have said they want to know the vote was made by the majority:
“Many citizens have stated that they want to know that the decision on Chapter 5 was made by the majority of the entire Governing Body. Many of them have complained that the vote did not include their representative’s voice due to an extraneous circumstance. Especially since the vote was split by one vote, they want to know why the Governing Body would not make sure all voices on such a contentious and close issue are heard. If the intention of the final voter is known, Council may decide that the issue is closed due to lack of support.”
A later agenda item includes discussion of a draft of a resolution that would create a committee to “(bring) people together of various backgrounds.” That resolution was first introduced by Gliniecki in early July. Gliniecki voted against the anti-discrimination ordinance on July 21 and attributed his decision to following his Catholic faith.
As a result of the council vote, artist Bob Stone removed three sculptures he had on display on city hall grounds. Stone said he was surprised by Gliniecki’s reading of excerpt’s from Catholic Church documents, but was “far more saddened” by the council vote as a whole. Gliniecki said he has offered his resignation a chair of the arts advisory committee so it is “free to decide without encumbrance.”
“I serve at the will of the committee,” Gliniecki said, adding that he “fully respect(s)” Stone’s reasons for removing his art.