Kicking A Lion

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Commission to vote tonight on gay rights

Commission to vote tonight on gay rights

Monday, December 01, 2008




KALAMAZOO — City commissioners are scheduled to vote tonight whether to implement an ordinance that would ban discrimination based on a person’s sexual orientation.

The Equal Rights Ordinance is aimed at protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered individuals from discrimination in the areas of housing, employment and public accommodations.

“I expect that there’s sufficient support from the commissioners to pass this ordinance,” said Jim Rodbard, former president of the ACLU of Michigan who worked closely with the Kalamazoo Alliance for Equality’s political action committee in bringing the proposed ordinance before city commissioners.

“We worked together to find something that is lawful and enforceable and it’s a good thing for the city of Kalamazoo,” said Rodbard, who is a local lawyer.

If passed, the ordinance would apply to private and public sectors, although there would be some exemptions, including churches and individuals who are seeking to rent out part of a residence in which they are living.

Violations of the ordinance would be referred to City Manager Kenneth Collard and could be punishable by a fine of no more than $500, plus costs of the action.

The proposed ordinance was given a first public reading during the City Commission’s meeting two weeks ago. No public comments were made about the ordinance at that time.

The city of Kalamazoo and Kalamazoo County previously adopted an Equal Employment Opportunity statement that says sexual orientation should not be considered in hiring employees.

However, the protection outlined in the statement is limited to employees of city or county government and applicants for jobs within city or county government.

Tonight’s City Commission meeting will start at 7 at City Hall, 241 W. South St.


Written by kickingalion

December 1, 2008 at 11:34 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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