A compromise has emerged that could lead to passage tonight of Flagstaff's first gay civil rights ordinance. Conservative members of the City Council have indicated they are willing to vote for the proposal if the civil penalties are reduced. A similar proposed ordinance deeply divided the community just four years ago, with some pastors preaching in public meetings against what they saw as a perversion while other residents testified through tears that they feared for their safety by merely disclosing whom they loved. In recent Council meetings, several councilmembers had gone on record in opposition to an ordinance that would create legal protections for sexual orientation, gender identity and veterans in the areas of employment and public accommodations. Excluded from the ordinance are religious-based organizations, "expressive groups" like the Boy Scouts, businesses of fewer than 15 employees as well as most government agencies, including Coconino County.
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