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KALAMAZOO GAZETTE — Voters will decide gay issue

August 27, 2009

“Kalamazoo voters will have the last word in November on a controversial, local, gay-rights ordinance… The anti-discrimination measure surfaced in late 2008 when the local gay-rights group Kalamazoo Alliance for Equality proposed ordinance language. …(C)itizens opposing the measure said the new law could require them to violate their personal, moral and religious beliefs that homosexuality is wrong by forcing them to offer jobs or rent homes to gay, lesbian or transgender people. Opponents launched a petition challenge and submitted enough signatures…get the ordinance suspended and force the commission to…put the measure to a citywide vote.”

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KALAMAZOO GAZETTE
Kalamazoo, Michigan
August 4, 2009

Voters will decide gay issue
by Kathy Jessup

KALAMAZOO — Kalamazoo voters will have the last word in November on a controversial, local, gay-rights ordinance that had banned gender identity or sexual-orientation discrimination in housing, employment and access to public accommodations.

The Kalamazoo City Commission voted unanimously Monday to reaffirm its support for the ordinance that was officially suspended Friday when challenge petitions were certified by City Clerk Scott Borling.

City Attorney Clyde Robinson now will draft ballot language that will be presented to the commission at its Aug. 17 meeting. Commissioners must approve the language for it to appear on the Nov. 3 ballot.

The anti-discrimination measure surfaced in late 2008 when the local gay-rights group Kalamazoo Alliance for Equality proposed ordinance language. A final version was crafted by Robinson, and the commission passed it unanimously in December.

However, citizens opposing the measure said the new law could require them to violate their personal, moral and religious beliefs that homosexuality is wrong by forcing them to offer jobs or rent homes to gay, lesbian or transgender people. Opponents launched a petition challenge and submitted enough signatures in December to get the ordinance suspended and force the commission to rescind it or put the measure to a citywide vote.

The commission decided in January to withdraw the first ordinance and appointed a three-member committee to hear public comment and attempt to craft a compromise measure. A second version was introduced in June and again unanimously passed by the commission, despite objections from critics who said they would circulate petitions again to place the measure on the ballot.

Borling certified Friday that Kalamazoo Citizens Voting No to Special Rights Discrimination had collected sufficient petition signatures to again suspend the ordinance and prompt a citywide ballot.

http://www.mlive.com/news/kzgazette/index.ssf?/base/news-35/1249397415102620.xml&coll=7
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