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Missouri: Springfield voters repeal LGBT rights

SPRINGFIELD, Missouri -- Voters on Tuesday narrowly repealed LGBT rights in Springfield, Missouri, a blow against equality and a boost for religious bigotry.

Question 1 passed, 51% to 49%, after a contentious clash of ideals. Those in favor of LGBT rights argued that equality for all citizens is important, but opponents launched a fear campaign that the city policy would force individuals and businesses to cater to gay marriage (not legal in this part of Missouri) and allow transgender people to use the "wrong" restrooms.

In 2014, the City Council voted 6-3 to add anti-discrimination protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity to city policy. But residents of Springfield, located in the heart of the Bible Belt, forced the issue by putting people's rights to a public vote.

Marty Rouse, national field director for the Human Rights Campaign, thanked local leaders and advocates for their hard work and lamented the results of the vote.

"Everyone in Springfield, including LGBT people, should be able to live, work, and care for their family without fear of discrimination," Rouse said.

"While yesterday was a difficult setback for equality in Springfield, the fight goes on and the future is bright. We were proud to support the thousands of fair-minded voters in Springfield who cast ballots to defend equality in the election, and we’re committed to ensuring that equality will ultimately prevail in Springfield and throughout the state of Missouri."