Gay Rights fight is decades-long in Fort Worth

FORT WORTH — Nearly 20 years ago, hundreds of people showed up at City Hall to protest a plan to protect people from being discriminated against — for jobs and housing and in public places — because of their sexual orientation.

The outcry was so massive in February 1992 that public testimony on the issue began at 4:30 p.m. and didn't end until about 12 hours later. Opponents contended that gays and lesbians were asking for special privileges; supporters argued that they were simply pressing an issue of fairness and equal treatment.

"We're not talking about San Francisco. We're not talking about New Jersey. We're not even talking about Austin. We're talking about Cowtown USA," resident Jeff Kligenberg told the city's Human Relations Commission at the time. "This is the city that holds to values that do not agree with what you're considering passing."

The proposal died that day.

It made its way back before the City Council in 2000, when leaders agreed to add gays and lesbians to an anti-discrimination policy, making Fort Worth a place where people cannot be discriminated against because of sexual orientation.

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