Village of Holly Votes 6-1 Against Human Rights Ordinance
Crystal A. Proxmire
Originally printed 10/13/2016 (Issue 2441 - Between The Lines News)
Holly - The Village of Holly voted 6-1 against adopting a human rights ordinance that would have prohibited discrimination against LGBT people.
Several members of the public spoke against the ordinance.
"There's a natural, inherent conflict because we're trying to redefine terms," Tigg Vanaman said. "It's just amazing to me that civil, logical, natural people are having this discussion. A boy's a boy. A girl's a girl, no matter what you perceive yourself to be.
"But in our society everybody is protected. Everybody is right. I fear that path. Because if everybody is right, then nobody is wrong. If nobody is wrong then there are no laws. If there are no laws, there is no law enforcement. If there is no law enforcement, who's going to protect me and my family, and what we believe?"
Resident Cat Steele said, "We always talk about how we want to make Holly more attractive to families. Is this gonna make it more attractive to families? Are people gonna want to bring their children here? If its passed down by the federal government, we'll do it. If it isn't, why would we want to do that?
"...Everyone up here has a son, a daughter, a niece, a nephew, a mother for God's sake. And I think our responsibility at this point is to look out for us and not what the Feds want to do."
Joe Hutchins also recommended that the Village Council wait until a federal mandate was issued. "This has become the biggest controversial thing since abortion or anything else. The Feds are going to be handing this down in a very short time I think. And so what we do here -- spending our money and putting this on our books and trying to enforce what? ... We're just wasting our money."
Nobody in the audience spoke in favor of the human rights ordinance.
On the Council, only Village Council President Ryan Bladzik voted in favor of it. He was also the one who introduced it. "Our society is split on this. There are different viewpoints and those viewpoints have been changing over the years. To me this is simply about providing justice."
Councilperson David Cruickshank noted that Michigan is an "at-will" state, giving the example that if someone wanted to fire someone they could blame it on the color of their shoes, and the ordinance would not protect their job.
He explained his no vote by stating, "Property rights are one of the fundamental pillars of liberty and freedom. That's one of the reasons I got involved in political politics in the first place.
"I can certainly see where one would want to pass a law such as this. There are instances such as bigotry, the mistreatment of individuals who may appear different than others and they want to use government to protect those who are ridiculed for being different and that's a natural default.
"The false belief with that is, number one, government always has the answer. And number two that we can legislate morality. If that were the case the war on drugs would have been a home run, and there would have been no one murdered since Cain killed Abel. What we have in society is a morality issue; that will not be taken care of by the ordinance. The only way this can be resolved is by culture change and market forces."
Cruickshank added that if he knew a business was discriminating, he would tell people about it and let the financial consequences put the business under.
President Pro-Tem Debra Musgrave and Councilperson Suzanne L. Heiple said that the Village Attorney had advised against passage of the ordinance.
Councilperson Robert Kleven voted against it because it would cost the Village money to put it on the books and he believed no one would enforce it.
And Councilperson Robert Allsop said, "I don't know why we need to deal with this, it just needs to be gone. ...What goal is it to put this crap in an ordinance when they (Village residents) have to live with it when we're gone... These people don't need that punishment here."
With no one speaking in favor of human rights protection, and only Village Council President Bladzik voting for it, the ordinance failed 6-1.
Apart from cities that have local ordinances, it is legal in Michigan to fire someone for being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or otherwise gender-nonconforming. It is legal for a landlord to throw someone out if they learn they are LGBT, or not show houses to a couple because they are gay. It is legal for stores to turn away customers because they do not want to serve people based on their sexual orientation or their gender expression. Similar practices were used historically to mistreat people of color, people with disabilities and women. Civil rights laws eventually reduced the amount of violence, threats, harassment and challenges faced by people in those groups by affirming their right to be treated equally under the law.
Because the law cannot protect them, LGBT people face discrimination or the fear of discrimination in a way that impacts their day to day lives. Many feel they have to hide who they are because of the risk of losing their jobs, their homes, or their ability to be in public in their communities.
Over 40 municipalities have enacted local human rights ordinances to protect LGBT people while in their community, including Detroit, Farmington Hills, Ferndale, Grand Rapids, Huntington Woods, Lansing, Lathrup Village, Muskegon, Pleasant Ridge, Royal Oak, Southfield and the Village of Lake Orion.
Tuesday's vote means that Holly is not among this list.
- Love is Patient, Love is Kind: Local Couple Details Path to Altar
- JCC Book Fair Welcomes Jewish Gay Author
- 3 Michigan Cities Score Perfect 100 Rating in LGBT Inclusion Report
- Conversation On Bullying Empowers Students and Parents
- Freedom House Seeks Help for LGBT Refugees
- John Allen Paves Way for Brighter Future for LGBTQ Youth
- Detroit Police Officer Dani Woods Recipient of Equality Michigan Award
- Oakland County Clerk Lisa Brown Celebrates Same-Sex Marriages
- State Board: Lawyer with Anti-Gay Rants Committed Misconduct
- Holly Lanes Hosting LGBT and Friends Night to Connect Around Equality
- Community Demands Justice for LGBTQ Prisoners
- Village of Holly Votes 6-1 Against Human Rights Ordinance
- Attorney Faces LGBTQ Discrimination
- Progressive Groups Join Forces to Win Big in Election 2016
- Federal Law Protects Transgender People at Homeless Shelters
- LGBTQ Youth Need Inclusive Sex Education
- Urge Michigan Attorney General to Withdraw from Federal Lawsuit
- Anti-LGBTQ Smear Campaign Targets Eaton County Commissioner
- AIDS/HIV Organizations
- Genesee County Health Department Primary Care Clinic
- Air Conditioning/Heating
- Diversified Heating & Cooling, Inc.
- Grand Rapids Women's Chorus
- West Michigan Gay Men's Chorus
- Financial Services
- Raymond James
- Real Estate/Agent
- Shoreline Realtors
- Religious & Spiritual
- Community of Christ the Good Shepherd
- Williamston United Methodist Church
- Symphony Orchestra
- Lansing Symphony Orchestra
- Wedding Chapel
- The Little Wedding Chapel
Enter contests to win great prizes like CDs, DVDs, concert tickets and more
- Hillary Clinton's Commitment to LGBT Equality Stronger Than Ever
- 'Campfire' Opens at The Ringwald Theatre
- McCrory, Cooper Blast Each other on LGBT Law in Debate
- Unleashing Garrett Clayton: Actor on Studying Porn, Keeping His Sexuality Private & How His Latest Movie's Greatest Critic Brent Corrigan 'Let the Movie Get Made'
- Idina Menzel on Working Toward LGBT Icon Status, a Lesbian Elsa & Angry Gays Who Oppose Her 'Beaches' Remake
Sign up to receive our weekly newsletters today!
As an openly gay man, Fred Hoffman said, "I really didn't know if there would be an issue." And while he wasn't waving rainbow flags when he was recruited by Chrysler in 1988, he was told being gay wasn't a problem.View More Automotive
This Week's Issue
Download or view this week's print issue today!
Sign up to receive our weekly newsletters today!