Only 295 valid signatures of registered voters are required by Jackson city ordinance to place a proposed ordinance on the ballot, so if homosexual activists choose, they can easily do so. With a conceptually identical ordinance already on the ballot this November in Kalamazoo, we still face the possibility of having to fight two city ballot campaigns this fall. Your ongoing support is deeply appreciated.
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“(Homosexual) activists pushing the (‘gay rights’/cross-dressing) ordinance said they were ready to push the issue in a public ballot initiative. ‘Itâ€™s an option I am not thrilled about, but itâ€™s something that is still on the table,’ said Kathleen Conley, who chairs the (Jackson) Human Relations Commission. She said the commission would meet to discuss how to move forward, and said some options included working with councilmembers to pass an ordinance which would only apply to city employees, or putting the issue on the ballot. (Cross-dressing activist John now) Julie Nemecek, co-director of Michigan Equality, said the HRC would only need about 400 signatures of Jackson voters to put the issue to a vote.”
August 12, 2009
Jackson City Council rejects anti-
discrimination ordinance 5-2
by Todd A. Heywood
JACKSON â€” In a 5-2 vote, the city council on Tuesday night rejected a controversial anti-discrimination ordinance aimed at curbing bias on the basis of sexual orientation, HIV status or gender identity and expression among other categories, setting the stage for what could be an ugly public ballot battle.
City Council members Kenneth Glasier, from the Fourth Ward, and Carl Breeding from the First Ward, voted (against a motion) to reject the ordinance. The motion was put forward by Daniel Greer, who represents the Third Ward and Robert Howe of the Second Ward.
â€œI feel like we are in Washington. Weâ€™re talking about an issue, but weâ€™re not dealing with it,â€ Mayor Jerry Ludwig said before casting a vote to reject the ordinance. â€œWeâ€™re too small for that. Sure we have a problem. Anyone who would deny that would be a liar. But itâ€™s not a problem to the extent where it will affect the business or housing market.â€
The move came after nearly 45 minutes of testimony about the ordinance. About 35 people spoke, with the majority of those speaking in opposition to the ordinance living outside the city, and the majority of those speaking in favor being Jackson residents.
Bryan Ramsey, who owns RTD Manufacturing in the city but lives in Grass Lake, said his concern was about the impact of the ordinance on businesses. Under the ordinance, a business found guilty of violating the ordinance is subject to a fine of $500 a day, as well as back wages and legal fees.
â€œWe have agencies trying to attract businesses to Jackson,â€ Ramsey told council members. â€œI know if this ordinance troubles me, I am sure it bothers some of those considering a move to Jackson.â€
Stephen Artz, RTDâ€™s vice president, also spoke against the ordinance citing cost concerns for businesses. But when asked if he was aware that many manufacturing companies in the United States, including the Big Three automakers, protected employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation, Artz said, â€œNo, Iâ€™m not.â€
Activists pushing the ordinance said they were ready to push the issue in a public ballot initiative.
â€œItâ€™s an option I am not thrilled about, but itâ€™s something that is still on the table,â€ said Kathleen Conley, who chairs the Human Relations Commission. She said the the commission would meet to discuss how to move forward, and said some options included working with councilmembers to pass an ordinance which would only apply to city employees, or putting the issue on the ballot.
Julie Nemecek, co-director of Michigan Equality, said the HRC would only need about 400 signatures of Jackson voters to put the issue to a vote.