SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — The fight for gay rights is playing out in city halls and town squares throughout the nation's heartland, from southwest Missouri to the Kansas plains to Nebraska college towns.

In Missouri, supporters of a Springfield proposal to prohibit discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations based on sexual orientation and gender identity hope elected leaders approve the change at a Monday meeting.

They're also mindful of a city history that includes the bombing of a gay church by white supremacists and protests when a local university presented a play about a Jewish AIDS activist.

Opponents say they can gather enough petition signatures to put the measure before voters. That may soon happen in Lincoln, Neb., and the Kansas towns of Salina and Hutchinson after earlier endorsements by city government.