Around 1:00 am this morning the Goshen City Council voted against an amendment which would have included "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" in the city's civil rights ordinance. The vote came after the second reading of the amendment and approximately 6 hours of debate. Geez, that's an awfully long time to discuss something as simplistic as whether or not all Goshen's citizens are entitled to human rights such as housing, employment, and public accommodations.
Reporter Justin Leighty provides a good summary of the evenings events in a piece he wrote over at the Elkhart Truth.
According to Justin
149 people -- 88 of them Goshen residents -- talked to the council.
Residents from Elkhart, Mishawaka, and South Bend came to speak. Of course Citizens for Community Values, the American Family Association and Advance America also attended to ensure their distorted "facts" were heard by the council.
In the end the council caved but most shocking is which council member cast the deciding dissenting vote.
Chic Lantz, who cosponsored the amendment with fellow councilman Jeremy Stutsman, cast the deciding dissenting vote.
Oh my, and why pray tell?
He originally supported it to protect people from discrimination, but looking at what's happened elsewhere in the wake of similar laws and ordinances changed his mind. "I don't want Goshen to have to go through that," he said of a rise in lawsuits.
That's interesting; Indianapolis seems to be doing just fine.
The typical arguments were presented by those who opposed the ordinance using the old same buzz words ("homosexual agenda", "sin", "intrinsically evil", etc). Yawn. The most interesting argument was
On the other hand, Lisa Drapeza said, "What about our rights as Christians? Why do we always have to take the back seat?" She pointed out Elkhart's having to remove the 10 Commandments monument from city hall. "Always push us back, push us back. What has this world come to?"
And how about this one
"Every individual has dignity and every individual has the right for clothing and housing and food and I'm not asking for anyone to be excluded," he said, but he doesn't want to give the impression that homosexual behavior is acceptable.
Not asking anyone to be excluded, except "homosexuals". Right.
Those of you who have spent time in Goshen know what a nice quaint neighborly community it was before the CCV, AFA, and Advance America came poking around to pit neighbors against each other. The amendment might be dead for now but not forever. Time will heal feelings and neighbors will come together again to pass this ordinance.