Gay rights ban fails in Topeka, Kansas 2, 2005

Topeka, Kansas -- Voters have rejected a ballot question that would have invalidated the city's law that protects gay citizens from discrimination.

Nearly 53 percent of voters rejected the proposal during the Tuesday vote, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported.

The question brought national media attention to Topeka.

The New York Times wrote about Tiffany Muller, the city's first openly gay council member, and her race against other candidates, including Jael Phelps, who conducts anti-homosexual picketing as a member of her father's Westboro Baptist Church.

"This could have been a stain on our community and confirmed everything the national media has been saying about us," Muller said.

"If this had passed, it could have had a serious economic impact on Topeka."

Proponents say they believe many people had been confused by the question's wording and voted against it when they actually favored such a discrimination prohibition.

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