Monday, October 26, 2009

Kalamazoo Gazette Endorses Voting 'Yes' to Non-Discrimination Ordinance

Kalamazoo, MI residents have a choice to make at the ballot this November - that is, whether they will vote in favor of the city's new non-discrimination ordinance which will bar discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, or vote to reject it.

The Kalamazo Gazette has endorsed the new ordinance and says so in its editorial, "Kalamazoo should stand for equality."
Either we are all equal, or we are not.

Is it right, then, that a person in Kalamazoo can be fired or denied employment or housing simply for being gay? Voters in the city have the opportunity on Nov. 3 to remove that inequity and deliver a strong message about the type of community we want to have.

Of course we’re referring to City of Kalamazoo Ordinance No. 1856, the city’s non-discrimination ordinance, which is on the ballot seeking to add “sexual orientation or gender identity” to the list of traits for which discrimination is prohibited. The ordinance already prohibits discrimination against people because of their race, religion, age, marital status and other characteristics. (You can read the entire ordinance, as proposed with the new inclusions, here. A new window will open up.)

The ordinance change, approved unanimously by the Kalamazoo City Commission, has been the subject of vigorous public debate in our community for more than a year. Other debates are being held across the country on issues relating to rights for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered people — such as gay marriage and hate crimes legislation — but we must not concern ourselves with any of those or confuse them with the issue at hand.

The ordinance we have before us, we believe, has been carefully considered and constructed. We have read it, talked with city commission members and other candidates about it and met with groups advocating for and against it. We have read the Letters to the Editor and Viewpoints submitted for publication here, listened to the public debates and forums and done our own research. And we have concluded that amending the ordinance as proposed is fair, reasonable and necessary.


Together, we can send the message that Kalamazoo is open, inclusive and values equality enough to say that our city will not discriminate against anyone. Vote “Yes” to pass this ordinance.
Thank you, Kalamazoo Gazette, for seeing past the lies and fear tactics and getting to the truth of the matter.

Get involved in protecting the basic freedoms of LGBT citizens of Kalamazoo. Go to One Kalamazoo.

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