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Equality Springfield Releases Its Report on Discrimination in Springfield

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As the effort to include "sexual orientation" among the protected categories progresses, Equality Springfield has issued its own report on the presence of discrimination in Springfield. The report comes on the heals of the recommendation of the Human Relations Board, a Springfield city committee charged with investigating the need for these protections.

"We knew there was a problem when the Board gave the City Commissioners a split decision," reports Vice President Bob Carr. On December 20th, four members of the Board concluded that there was "no compelling evidence of discrimination" in Springfield, and three dissenting members determined that there was evidence of a problem.

"One part of the process that concerned us was that the Board didn't seem to have a standard of what constituted 'compelling,'" continued Carr. "Without that standard, it's difficult to know how to weigh the Board's conclusion." Equality Springfield's report attempts to address the problem by making the evidence compiled by the Board more widely available.

"The report represents more than 300 pages of evidence condensed, organized, and prioritized in an effort to help more people come at this information for themselves," said Equality
Springfield Treasurer Lisa Beekman. "We should all be cautious about allowing others to decide what is and is not compelling without seeing the information for ourselves." The documents were provided by City Hall upon request from Equality Springfield.

The report has been shared with the Springfield City Commissioners as well as with the media. "Part of the aim is to share knowledge with as many people as possible in the hopes that all parties involved in this important conversation can be well informed," said Carr. For that reason, the group has decided to share the report widely through its website as well. The report is attached below.

"The more people who don't rest easy with someone else's assessment of the evidence and looks into the evidence for themselves, the more likely we'll have a good legislative process," argued Beekman.

The Commission has yet to determine a timeline for a vote on the proposed ordinance, but that vote can come as early as February. Details will be available on this site as soon as they become available.