Kalamazoo plays host to struggle over gay, transgender rights

October 16, 2009
With the constant din of volunteers talking and phones ringing behind him, City Commissioner David Anderson sat on a metal folding chair at campaign headquarters and explained his reluctant entry into the battle over a proposed anti-discrimination ordinance in this southwest Michigan city.
     “I didn’t run to work on this issue,” he said, referring to Ordinance 1856, which he helped write. “Quite frankly, this was not on my radar, he added, noting that the local advocacy group Kalamazoo Aliance for Equality did the initial pushing.
     But the fledgling ordinance needed a sponsor. ”As it turned out, I was the one who stepped up,” Anderson said.
     In less than three weeks, voters in Kalamazoo will decide the fate of the ordinance that seeks to add anti-discrimination protections for city residents who are gay or transgender. The measure has inspired an intense, if mostly underground, opposition.