After several months, the Wichita City Council moved this week on an ordinance that Brittany Jones of Kansas Family Voice says gives certain groups based on race, sex, color, national origin, ancestry, and other factors special protections in the areas of employment, public accommodations, and housing.
"The city council did attempt to add some religious exemptions, but they were essentially giving the church a list of requirements that they had to meet in order to be considered a church," Jones, who attended the meeting on Tuesday, details. "This is something that courts have consistently said is inappropriate and a violation of the First Amendment."
She says council members shot down another proposal that they claimed would give churches too much leeway.
"It was very clear that the city council was using its ordinance to go after people of faith," Jones asserts. "They were not interested in protecting faithful citizens of Wichita, and instead they wanted to use this against people of faith."
Time will tell whether the ordinance, which was approved by a 9-1 vote, will face a court challenge, but Jones' organization is working with other groups on plans for how to deal with it.
Pastor Dionae Gates was the only member of the Diversity, Inclusion, and Civil Rights Advisory Board to vote against the ordinance. He said the ordinance did not take into account the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, and he questioned whether the measure was really solving the problem of discrimination.