Kokomo council backs sexual orientation protections

KOKOMO, Ind. (AP) — Officials in Kokomo have given initial approval to making it the latest Indiana city to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

City Council members voted 5-4 Monday night to endorse the ordinance after more than an hour of contentious comments from an audience packing the meeting room.

Opponents said they feared the ordinance’s exemptions for religious organizations could be eliminated in the future and that it would allow men claiming to be transgender to enter women’s restrooms. Supporters argued cities with similar ordinances haven’t had such problems and that the protections could help Kokomo attract businesses.

The city ordinance could get final council approval next Monday.

Carmel, Columbus and Terre Haute are among cities adopting similar protections since last spring’s uproar over Indiana’s religious objections law.

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