The Springfield City Council voted to table a proposal to expand the city's nondiscrimination ordinance.
The city is considering prohibiting discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The council was considering Monday night whether to vote on the issue or put it to a public vote.
Instead, the council voted 7-2 to postpone action on the ordinance.
The city will instead appoint a task force to work toward a compromise on an issue that has created passionate debate for weeks.
The recession has been particularly hard on older workers, and many suspect age discrimination.
Among them is Larry Wilson, a 57-year-old resident of St. Charles County. He told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he long ago stopped counting the number of rejected employment applications and is resigned to the fact he may never find a full-time job again.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that unemployed job-seekers over 55 typically wait 56 weeks to find a job, far more than the 38-week average for the rest of the unemployed population.