Dear AFA-Michigan supporter,
Please read the news story below, and in doing so, please remember that AFA-Michigan’s ability to keep our commitment to assist families in our capital city in opposing this ordinance — which threatens religious freedom and the privacy rights of women and children — depends on your continued financial support.
Your tax-deductible contribution before Dec. 31st can help lower the federal taxes you owe in April. Thanks for your support, and Merry Christmas to you and your family.
Gary Glenn, President
American Family Association of Michigan
LANSING STATE JOURNAL
Lansing, Michigan – December 19, 2006
Council passes rights ordinance
Opponents aim for August vote to repeal measure
by Kathleen Lavey
After much debate among residents, the Lansing City Council on Monday night unanimously passed a human rights ordinance.
“This is a great way to end the year,” said council member Kathie Dunbar, who proposed the ordinance. “I was always convinced all my colleagues supported this.” But opponents of the ordinance promised Monday to start a petition drive to put it on the August ballot, where voters could support or repeal the ordinance.
“We will be prepared to assist residents of Lansing in making sure that the policy does not stand without a vote of the people,” said Gary Glenn, president of the Midland-based American Family Association of Michigan. It opposes the ordinance largely over the granting of rights to gay, lesbian and transgendered people.
To get a referendum placed on the ballot, the ordinance’s opponents would have to collect valid signatures from 5 percent of Lansing voters, or about 4,370 people. “I’m kind of looking forward to it,” Dunbar said of the potential challenge. “I’ve done my research, and I’ve made my sound decision. The majority of people in town are ready for this.” Several residents both for and against the proposal spoke Monday at the council meeting.
In an e-mail sent Friday to City Council members, Glenn asked for a delay of the vote until after the first of the year. He said passing it on Dec. 19 creates a hardship for Christians who oppose the ordinance and now must collect petition signatures during the holiday season.
The council originally planned to vote on the ordinance Dec. 11 but delayed its vote to address concerns raised by the Catholic Diocese of Lansing. Overall, Dunbar said she has been overwhelmed at the number of positive responses to her efforts to get the ordinance passed. “This sends a very powerful message that we respect and value diversity,” she said.
Among other things, the ordinance prohibits harassment and discrimination based on race, age, height, weight, political affiliation or belief, sexual orientation and gender identity.
The council fine-tuned the ordinance last week with input from local religious and business leaders. Fines for violating the ordinance are up to $150 for a first offense, up to $250 for a second offense and up to $500 for a third offense. City attorney Brigham Smith said cities that have passed similar ordinances have not seen big boosts in litigation or complaints.
Lansing’s City Council passed a similar human rights ordinance in March 1996. Voters eliminated it on a referendum the following November.
“I felt it was time to try again,” Dunbar said. “The community has changed, and attitudes in the community have changed.”
You can read the Lansing State Journal article here.