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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Missouri City Declares Itself an ‘LGBTQ Safe Haven’ from Anti-Mutilation Law

'We already have laws in place, that already protect everyone here...'

(Molly BrunsHeadline USA) A city in central Missouri recently declared itself to be a sanctuary city for LGBT citizens, in direct defiance of the state’s June 2023 prohibition on life-altering transgender surgeries and chemical treatments for minors.

Columbia, Missouri’s city council members passed the “LGBTQ Safe Haven” ordinance in a 6-to-1 vote on Monday, according to the Columbia Daily Tribune.

On its face, the ordinance seems like a simple pander directed at the LGBT population. While it does signal some virtue, the edict also officially lowers the priority level of enforcing state and federal laws surrounding “gender affirming healthcare.”

The ordinance will help protect “individual[s] or organization[s] for providing, seeking, receiving, or assisting another individual who is seeking or receiving gender-affirming healthcare,” from prosecution or administrative penalties.

The city, home to the University of Missouri, also stated that it “strives to respect and celebrate its diversity,” declaring itself to also be a safe haven for “free speech and expression,” according to the ordinance.

“The City Council affirms that being LGBTQ is not a disorder, disease, illness, deficiency or shortcoming and commits to finding ways to improve social outcomes for LGBTQ Columbians,” it said.

City Attorney Nancy Thompson explained that it meant Columbia would be “a safe haven for all, while also establishing a policy framework to ensure LGBTQ families, individuals and establishments continue to feel safe in our community.”

The state’s largest city, Kansas City, implemented a similar ordinance in May 2023.

The one vote against the ordinance came from councilman Don Waterman, who argued that the ordinance, while well-meaning, was wholly unnecessary.

“I would wholeheartedly support a resolution, but an ordinance, I don’t see the need for it,” he said.

During the three-hour public comment portion of the meeting, citizens expressed similar sentiments against the ordinance.

“We already have laws in place, that already protect everyone here,” said resident Vicki Luther.

The Missouri state legislature banned “gender-affirming care” in the state in June 2023, prohibiting puberty blockers, hormone replacement therapy and genital surgeries for citizens under 18 years old.

The state also forbade their Medicaid system, MO HealthNet, from covering such treatments.

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