Councilman's Plan To Boost LGBT Rights In Topeka

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- District 6 Topeka City Coucilman Chad Manspeaker outlined a set of proposals for the Human Relations Commission, boosting the rights of the LGBT community.

Manspeaker is proposing two ordinances, but before taking them to the governing body, he ran it by the HRC for fine tuning.

Manspeaker is looking to change an outsiders view of the Capital City with equality for all.

"I think its important to have that view, it's important for economic development and for bringing businesses into the city."

The city of Topeka currently protects employees against discrimination based on a number of criteria including sexual orientation but Manspeaker wants to add one more, gender identity.

The LGBT community says it protects those who are transgendered, but some commission members thought the wording was vague.

Commission member Stephanie Mott said, "It was just a little incomplete and we want to get this right. For people not familiar with the LGBT community it just leaves a lot to be questioned. It's important for us to be prudent and cautious."

Also included in Manspeaker's equality package, a Domestic Partner Registry for both same-sex and heterosexual couples.

Manspeaker said it would not add any rights for same sex partners, but would give them something they've never had before in Topeka, proof.

"They will be able to have something that proves their partnership. That insurance companies and hospitals would accept. It's document that proves that relationship is real," said Manspeaker.

Commission members did not vote but did ask Manspeaker to bring back answers to their questions, which he says is positive.

"It's important that we are having this conversation," said Manspeaker

The Human Relations Commission next meets May 5th. If it approves the plan, Manspeaker will take it to the full city council for approval.