Allie Spillyards

Debate Fires Up in Denton Over LGBTQ Discrimination Ordinance

It was standing room only inside Denton City Hall Saturday as neighbors came together to discuss whether an ordinance is needed to protect the rights of the LGBTQ community.

The event was organized by city council member Jesse Davis, though he acted simply as a moderator for the panel of citizens he invited to debate whether change is needed.

Denton mom Amber Briggle was among them. She said Saturday's discussion was a long time coming, nearly a year after she and other advocates for the LGBTQ community made their case to city council in a work session.

"It really brings it into light. It brings more validity to the conversation, and I'm hoping we can just keep it going as a community until we can really adopt some of these policies that we need here in Denton," Briggle said.

But just to her left, Pastor Jim Mann argued those protections should be left to the federal government.

"We want to make sure everyone's taken care of, but this isn't the way we can do it," Mann said.

Mann called Saturday's forum "a good first step" in a conversation that needed to be had. And if the crowd was any indication, it's one many in Denton are eager to participate in.

Though warned against disruption, the audience was vocal in response to statements made both for and against an ordinance.

Long-time Denton resident Kevin Bradshaw sat quietly in back corner, calling the cause a distraction from bigger issues he'd like to see the council tackle.

"I haven't seen that much evidence of discrimination, and I've been here longer than anyone in this room," Bradshaw said.

Meanwhile, Mat Pruneda felt the discussion didn't go far enough.

"I think the most frustrating thing about this is it is a conversation about introducing basic protections for everyone. In the end we left off without a resolution because there is nothing on the agenda moving forward. Sometimes these things just kind of feel like a place holder that's good theater," Pruneda said.

No official ordinance has been proposed.

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