Lawrence city commissioners on Tuesday gave final approval to an ordinance that expands local protections for transgender and gender-nonconforming people in the wake of Kansas’ new anti-trans legislation.
Commissioners approved the ordinance without discussion as part of their consent agenda.
The Kansas Legislature in spring passed Senate Bill 180, which proponents dubbed the “women’s bill of rights” even though it enumerates no rights for women, and which was intended to bar trans people from gender-specific facilities that align with their gender identities.
Local activists, including many affiliated with the group No SB 180 in Lawrence, in June and July urged the city to codify a firm stance against SB 180. On June 20, Vice Mayor Bart Littlejohn asked city staff to work with the activists to bring the safe haven ordinance to fruition.
Ordinance No. 9999 declares the city “to be a safe, inclusive, and welcoming City and a safe haven for all persons seeking shelter from the adversity of discrimination, in all its forms, including those persons affected by Senate Bill 180 as enacted,” according to the commission’s July 18 meeting agenda.
Commissioners gave the ordinance first approval on July 18. Commissioner Brad Finkeldei requested a minor tweak to language to make the ordinance stronger in case it is challenged, though he said he would support the ordinance with or without the change. His fellow commissioners agreed. They gave the revised ordinance final approval on Tuesday evening.
Here’s the ordinance as approved:20230801-Ord-9999