A local gay right’s advocate’s home was defaced with an anti-gay slur just days before city commissioners are scheduled to vote on whether to change their anti-discrimination laws.
The victim, Bradley Minerd, found the offensive word Monday written on the front door of his Springfield home.
“I came out Monday, around 1 p.m. to leave and I noticed red writing … It kind of shocked and confused me,” Minerd said.
He then remembered that it’s not the first time he said he’s been targeted.
“It dawned on me I actually received a letter in the mail about a year and a half ago,” Minerd said.
Minerd has been an outspoken advocate for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, serving as vice president for Equality Springfield.
He’s pushed the city to add sexual orientation to its local anti-discrimination ordinances. It’s needed now, he said.
The current ordinance prohibits discrimination based on race, religion, ancestry, sex, national origin, age and disability.
Springfield city commissioners will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday to discuss adding sexual orientation to that list. It wouldn’t apply to portions of the ordinance that might affect “religious schools, churches engaged in religious activities and owner-occupied residences with not more than three unrelated renters,” according to the proposed legislation.
A 2017 report from the city’s Human Relations Board said discrimination based on sexual orientation exists in Springfield and should be covered by local laws. The report recommended adding sexual orientation to the city’s non-discrimination ordinance.
In February 2012, commissioners voted 3-2 against amending the city’s anti-discrimination codes to include sexual orientation. The topic was debated for months before large crowds.
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Springfield City Commissioner Joyce Chilton voted against the measure six years ago.
She said this week she’s sorry that Minerd’s home was defaced but that she believes the issue should be addressed by state or federal lawmakers.
“The reason I voted to not add it was that it was divisive. It separates Clark County and the city of Springfield because the county cannot make ordinances,” Chilton said. “Make it where it is fair to everyone and you, like at the federal government and the state government. Until those are added, then it is unfair to a whole lot of folks.”
Staff Writer Michael Cooper contributed to this report.