Kalamazoo poised to pass anti-discrimination ordinance

June 27, 2009
Kalamazoo City Commissioner David Anderson predicts an amended ordinance extending discrimination protections to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals will be approved Monday perhaps unanimously by the City Commission.
     Gary Glenn, president of the American Family Association of Michigan, predicts petitions to allow voters to decide the issue will be on the streets Tuesday, leading to a ballot referendum in November.
     Six months of public input and changes to the ordinance unanimously passed by city commissioners in December, then rescinded in January, appear to have changed few opinions on whether Kalamazoo should outlaw discrimination against homosexuals in employment, housing and access to public accommodations.
     At its crux, the schism appears to be largely a religious divide. Ordinance opponents say the measure banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity will force the moral acquiescence of those whose religious beliefs call that an immoral lifestyle. Proponents say sexual orientation is not a reason to tolerate discrimination.