After long debate, Olathe OKs nondiscrimination ordinance

December 4, 2019 GMT

After months of debate, the Olathe City Council approved a nondiscrimination ordinance that provides protections for LGBTQ residents.

After Tuesday’s vote, Olathe became the last major city in Johnson County to adopt an ordinance that prohibits discrimination such as being denied housing, employment or services from businesses based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The ordinance includes exemptions for educational, religious and political institutions, The Kansas City Star reported.

The vote came before a packed meeting room. Opponents had urged the council to defeat the ordinance, saying it would limit their religious freedom.


The council also voted to investigate an ethics complaint against councilwoman Karin Brownlee. The complaint was filed by gay rights activist Brett Hoedl, who led the fight to get the ordinance passed. He accused Brownlee of complaining to his employer about his activism, which he said violated the city code of ethics.

Brownlee acknowledged having a casual conversation with an associate of Hoedl’s about his activism but said she didn’t intend to threaten his job. She has rejected Hoedl’s suggestion that she resign.

The City Council will hire an investigator to determine the facts of the case and make recommendations.