US: Topeka, home of ‘God Hates Fags’ church, passes gay equality laws

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Topeka, home of the Westboro Baptist Church, has passed equality laws banning anti-gay discrimination.

Topeka City Council voted to narrowly approve a raft of pro-equality measures on Tuesday, by two votes of 5-3, despite opposition from local conservatives.

The new laws establish a domestic partnership registry for same-sex couples, and also ban discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

It is the second city in Kansas to pass specific protections for LGBT people, following Lawrence.

Councilman Chad Manspeaker said the votes showed “that Topeka is an open, inclusive community and that we welcome all people here and we look forward to grow in that direction.”

The city has become well known as the home of the Westboro Baptist Church, who regularly picket funerals, pride marches, concerts, and anything perceived to be “fag-enabling”.

Last year, an Equality House was established across the road from the church, and a same-sex wedding ceremony was held there last June.

Following the death of the church’s pastor Fred Phelps, his grandson Zach Phelps-Roper split away from the church and condemned it a a “mind trap”.

He recently claimed that his grandfather had recanted his anti-gay views before his death, leading to him being forced out the church by the more militant members.

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers Kansas, is currently hearing an appeal against a same-sex marriage ruling in Utah.