City Commission hears public comment on nondiscrimination ordinance

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The Manhattan City Commission heard a public comment on the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance during its meeting Tuesday evening.

Manhattan Mayor Karen McCulloh called for any public comments, at which time Susan Gerth, of Manhattan, approached the Commission with the story of her transgender daughter, requesting that the Commission amend Manhattan’s nondiscrimination ordinance to include protection against sexual orientation and gender-identity discrimination.

I know that you cannot legislate acceptance, but you can send a clear message that discrimination in the workplace or housing or public accommodations is unacceptable,” Gerth said. “Commissioners, we must add protections based on both sexual orientation and gender identity to our own anti-discrimination ordinance.”

Usha Reddi, Manhattan mayor pro tem, thanked Gerth for speaking during the public comment portion of the meeting.

“I think it is an important issue,” Reddi said. “We do need to discuss it, and at some point, make some changes and follow suit with the other entities, such as Fort Riley, USD 383 and K-State. I know that it’s been increasing. I looked at the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission webpage. There is discrimination, whether we sense it or not.”

McCulloh proclaimed Feb. 7 “Souper Bowl Sunday,” during which members of the community are asked to donate food through the community’s volunteer organizations, schools, churches and the Flint Hills Breadbasket. Souper Bowl Sunday is an effort of the St. Thomas More Knights of Columbus, who accepted the proclamation at the meeting.

McCulloh also proclaimed February 2016 “Folio February” and 2016 as “Shakespeare in the Little Apple Year” in honor of Manhattan’s hosting of William Shakespeare’s Folio this month. James Hamilton, professor of philosophy at K-State, was in attendance to accept this proclamation.

Commissioners debated item I on the consent agenda, which was in regard to approving indication of the City of Manhattan’s support for the Manhattan Area Housing Partnership tax credit application.

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Danielle Cook
Hey there! I'm Danielle Cook. I'm currently a freshman in journalism and mass communications. I live for telling true stories, so I hope to be doing it for the rest of my life. Luckily, I also live for late nights and early mornings – as long as there's coffee and I'm in good company.