Holland approves LGBTQ protection ordinance

Ottawa County

HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — In a vote that didn’t happen until around 2 a.m. Thursday, the Holland City Council approved expanding the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance to protect people who identify as LGBTQ.

The measure passed 8-1 after a long meeting that started Wednesday evening.

It was the second time in decade the city council was asked to amend the ordinance to include the LGBTQ community. Debate surrounding it has gone on for months.

For the first time since the COVID-19 outbreak began, the meeting, which started Wednesday evening, was held in person. Community members were invited inside for public comment with physical distancing precautions in place. Dozens of citizens went in front of city council to give their thoughts on the amendment.

“We are not waking city council to speak morally or in regard to religious freedoms. Religious freedom is not threatened here. We are simply asking for legal protections for everyone for being discriminated against simply because of who they are,” one community member said.

Ahead of the meeting, a council member made a motion to amend the proposal, striking the words “gender identity and gender expression” from the nondiscrimination ordinance. That measure failed.

“If you decide to vote for this, I’m in favor of all of it except for just two terms, to terms in it, because all of it is what you’ll find in every state and federal thing except for the terms gender identity and gender expression. Those two terms are extremely dangerous for you, for Holland,” another community member said during public comment.

Before the meeting, leaders of the LGBT community said they had seen significant support from council members on the matter.

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