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Kokomo mayor pushes for LGBT protections ordinance

KOKOMO, Ind. (WISH) — The Religious Freedom Restoration Act’s (RFRA) lasting impact is forcing another city to take LGBT protections into its own hands.

Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight is calling for the city council to pass its own civil rights ordinance to include the LGBT community.

Goodnight announced the changes Monday night during the state of the city address.

“You have to be tolerant, you have to be respectful and you cannot discriminate,” Goodnight said.

He said respect and tolerance are behind his call for LGBT protections. It’s a matter the state has failed to take care of, he argued.

“There was a promise last year that they would fix it and that didn’t happen.” he said of the failed attempts during this legislative session to pass statewide LGBT protections.

This push comes as the city is in a renaissance and Goodnight said that this could only help the city even more.

Those in the LGBT community are also pushing for the changes.

“We’re not protected in how we can talk and be ourselves in the community,” Darrell Blasius explained.

Darrell and Bruce are leading LGBT activists in Kokomo. The two men were married in June 2014 by Goodnight and were in the audience to hear the mayor’s plan Monday night.

Similar to ordinances in other communities, Kokomo’s would protect the LGBT community from discrimination at work, in housing and public accommodations.

City council president Bob Hayes said a first reading could come in the next few weeks.

“It should’ve been on everybody’s plate a long time ago, so I’m not going to make excuses for the city of Kokomo,” Hayes said. “The only thing I’m going to say is that Kokomo is going to catch up real quick.”