Religious groups work to get rid of ordinance protecting LGBT people

Religious groups trying to get rid of an ordinance protecting gay, lesbian and transgender people in Plano are one step closer to accomplishing their goal.

They delivered petitions with more than double the signatures they needed to city hall on Tuesday.

Fifty churches, including Prestonwood Baptist Church, oppose the new ordinance, which makes it illegal to deny business or service to anyone, regardless of sexual orientation.

Opponents claim the ordinance infringes on Christians in the workplace and businesses like wedding planners, florists or bakeries that would not choose to participate in gay weddings.

"Anytime you criminalize people of faith in the workplace by handcuffing them and not allowing them to make decisions and to serve the people that they want to serve and to hire the people they want to hire, you are stripping them of religious freedom," said Rev. Mike Buster.

If the 7,000 signatures are verified, city council can either repeal the ordinance or put it on the May ballot.

"My guess, based on what the city council and the mayor has said, is that there's not a chance they will repeal it," said lawyer Lori Burch.

Burch is among those who support the new ordinance banning discrimination against gays and transgendered people.

"They play upon people's fears and they play upon people's misunderstanding," said Burch.

The ordinance specifically exempts churches, private organizations, and non-profits that don't get city grants.

Those who violate the ordinance will be hit with a misdemeanor and fined.

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