The unconstitutional Solicitation Ordinance has been on the books since 1976 and recently came under fire by Council member Doug Burlison this past June at Greater Ozarks Pridefest. After the final reading at the Springfield City Council meeting last night, the council unanimously voted to repeal the ordinance along with the removal or amendment to four other chapters of outdated or noncompliant ordinances.
Steph Perkins, Southwest Missouri Regional Organizer for PROMO, said, “We are proud to see the swift action of the Springfield City Council on the unanimous removal of this ordinance. The council members have truly listened to their constituents and taken a stand with the constitution.” Perkins continued, “A special thank you from PROMO goes out to Council member Doug Burlison for bringing this ordinance to light and to the many people who contacted their council members to speak out against this unconstitutional ordinance. Their voices were certainly heard.”
PROMO initiated a letter writing campaign allowing proponents of the removal of the unconstitutional ordinance to voice their opinions to their Springfield City Council members. The campaign sent hundreds of letters from Springfield residents to the City Council members, allowing the residents to voice their opinions on the removal of the ordinance.
The ordinance states, “It shall be unlawful for any person in a public place to invite, entice, persuade or to address a person of the same sex for the purpose of inviting, enticing or persuading such person to commit sodomy. Sodomy means any sexual act involving the genitals of one person and the mouth, tongue, hand or anus of another person.” Although the ordinance has not been enforced in several years and is unconstitutional under the landmark case Lawrence v. Texas, it has been repeatedly overlooked by committees created to oversee the removal of outdated or noncompliant ordinances. However, with this vote, the Springfield City Council has shown the city that it stands with the constitution and its residents.