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Referendum Effort to Repeal NDO Fails

Ryan Loyd
TPR News
Petitioners had 40 days to collect more than 61,000 signatures to repeal the city's non-discrimination ordinance.

The city's non-discrimination ordinance is in its 40th day, meaning those opposed to the measure are out of time in leading an effort to force a referendum to get the ordinance reversed.
City Clerk Leticia Vacek said petitioners needed a little over 61,000 signatures, which is 10 percent of the registered voters in May. But Pastor Gerald Ripley said he and fellow opponents did not meet the goal.

"We were expecting a group to come in today with the petitions and we received a phone call notifying our office that they were not going to be coming in because they had not received the required number of signatures," Vacek said Tuesday.

Ripley said he was encouraged by the number of people who signed the petitions and was encouraged by what they did accomplish. He noted a cross-section of the community - people from all walks of life and of all races - signed the petitions because they were disgusted with the city council for ignoring a large number of people against the measure.

On Sept. 5, the measure passed, with three council members voting against the issue, including District 2's Ivy Taylor, District 9's Elisa Chan, and District 10's Carlton Soules. 

After the measure passed, people cheered and chanted, their excitement spilling out into Main Plaza.

"We've been working on this for almost two years," said Tiffany Bishipo. "It's just really overwhelming and emotional and a long time coming."

People against the ordinance thought it would stifle their freedom of speech and stomp on their religious beliefs.

Pastor Charles Flowers led the charge against the issue and on the day it passed, he concluded, "It's disappointing, obviously disappointing."
City Attorney Michael Bernard has said the city has not received complaints over inappropriate restroom behavior or any backlash as a result of the ordinance.

Those were fears opponents had after the ordinance passed.
Of what opponents can do next, Ripley said they will express their opinions for the council at the next election.