Kalamazoo Repeals Anti Discrimination Ordinance

The city board held a meeting Monday night to listen to the public and voted to repeal the measure by a 7-0 vote.

Kalamazoo Gazette

The Kalamazoo City Commission voted unanimously Monday night to repeal its new anti-discrimination ordinance, stopping a citywide referendum on creating a protected class for gay, lesbian and transgender individuals.

The rescinded ordinance expanded an existing city code that had outlawed discrimination in real estate transactions to include employment and public accommodations.

It also required companies doing business with the city of Kalamazoo to show proof that they have their own policies prohibiting gender-identification discrimination.

The commissioners each spoke out about their support of the measure before voting it down. The mayor claims that they didn't want it to go to vote before the public and divide this city up even more.

But Mayor Bobby Hopewell said he expects another ordinance will be offered.

"My intent is that we will have an ordinance that will provide protections to gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender individuals," Hopewell told a standing-room crowd with mixed opinions. Hopewell appointed Commissioners David Anderson, Stephanie Moore and Don Cooney to lead the new negotiations.

They plan on reintroducing this ordinance but only after they have made sure the AFA and the Kalamazoo Alliance for Equality won't object to the new language. This should be interesting since the AFA is objecting to the inclusion of GLBT.

More below the fold.

Each of the links above these videos lead to the stories on their websites. I included them because no one single source had all the information.

From our local news WWMT 3

From WoodTv 8

A statement from Kalamazoo Alliance for Equality

Statement Regarding Rescinding of Equal Rights Ordinance

We are disappointed that the Kalamazoo City Commission chose to rescind the Equal Rights Ordinance protecting the citizens of Kalamazoo from discrimination. However, we are encouraged by all of the commissioners’ statements that the original intent of the ordinance will be maintained in any future version of the ordinance.

We believe that the majority of Kalamazoo residents agree with us that discrimination in any form is never acceptable and every person living in this city needs to be treated fairly. We believe our city commissioners also believe in fairness and want to do the right thing. We believe they value and celebrate the rich diversity of Kalamazoo and all of its community members.

The very small number of signatures gathered to repeal this ordinance does not represent the views of the vast majority of the Kalamazoo citizens. We reject the lies and scare tactics of the opposition and we will not be frightened into complacency.

We look forward to the Kalamazoo City Commission enacting a new Equal Rights Ordinance in a timely fashion. We believe in the citizens of this city and remain committed to the promise of Kalamazoo.

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