Kalamazoo, Michigan Upholds LGBTQ Rights
Voters in Kalamazoo, Michigan, passed an ordinance that bans discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity this Election Day with nearly 62 percent voting in favor of the measure. Ordinance 1856 upholds amendments the Kalamazoo City Commission adopted to add lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals to the list of protected classes under the city's existing non-discrimination ordinance, which applies to employment, public accommodations, and housing, according to the Associated Press
"I applaud the people of Kalamazoo for embracing equality for all," Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese said in a press release. "Sexual orientation and gender identity have no place in employment decisions, access to housing, or public accommodations. Each of us is entitled to security in our daily lives regardless of who we love, of who we are. Thank you One Kalamazoo for your outstanding efforts and rousing success." One Kalamazoo was the name of the campaign group that worked to pass Ordinance 1856 and is disbanding since the ordinance passed, according to WKZO News.
Less than 24 hours after the ordinance passed in Kalamazoo, Michigan state House Speaker Pro Tem Pam Byrnes introduced legislation to repeal a 2004 amendment to the state constitution that banned same-sex marriage in the state. She told the Michigan Messenger that gay rights are "an economic issue...Young people want to go to cities and communities that are progressive, accepting of people and have good quality of life. That's something that Kalamazoo is now going to have."
Over a hundred counties and cities in the US prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Twelve states and Washington D.C. prohibit discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation, and an additional 21 states ban discrimination based on sexual orientation alone.
Media Resources: Associated Press 11/4/09; Human Rights Campaign Press Release 11/4/09; WKZO News 11/5/09; Michigan Messenger 11/4/09