KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) - The Kalamazoo City Commission voted unanimously to adopt ananti-discrimination ordinance Monday night.
It will prohibit discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexualand transgendered people when it comes to hiring, housing and otheraccommodations. The ordinance goes into effect in July.
"I am excited," said Terry Kyseke, of the Kalamazoo Alliance forEquality. "Here is an opportunity to make a statement that we arecreating a Kalamazoo for every citizen that's equal and fair."
This was the second proposal of its kind. The commissionapproved a gay rights law Dec. 1, then repealed it Jan. 12 afterthe American Family Association submitted petitions to force apublic vote.
Changes were made to try and accommodate both sides, mainlymaking exemptions for religious organizations.
Most of the ordinance's opposition comes from the organization'sMichigan chapter, which argues mostly on the basis of religiousviews.
The city manager will be in charge of enforcement. Businessesand housing organizations would face stiff fines if found to havediscriminated against the gay community.
However, opposition groups will have a chance to petition again.With 1,300 signatures, the ordinance would have to go before thecommission for a third time. From there, the commission couldrescind it, or put it before the Kalamazoo community for a vote inthe next election.
"This ordinance, I feel, is an infringement on the rights ofeveryone in Kalamazoo and everyone visiting and working inKalamazoo," said Jan Stowe, who opposes the ordinance. "This is nota civil right we're talking about. There is no proven gay gene.This just came out by the American Psychological Association."
American Family Association of Michigan President Gary Glenntold the Kalamazoo Gazette petitions to put the gay rights law to areferendum will be on the streets Tuesday.
People from both sides of the issue say they would welcome avote on the issue on the November ballot.
"I value the Kalamazoo voter," Kyseke said. "Their knowledge,their education and their willingness to say, 'we are a communitythat does what is correct.' "
A woman from Mount Pleasant died after her SUV crashed on a road in Montcalm County.
Mirror parts found at the scene indicate it may be a 2005 Chevrolet Uplander.
An observation survey was conducted by the Wayne State University Transportation Research Group.