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Royal Oak, Mich., council votes to draft ordinance prohibiting anti-gay discrimination

Thursday, November 22, 2012
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ROYAL OAK, Mich. — The Royal Oak, Mich., City Commission this week voted unanimously to approve drafting of an ordinance that would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.

During its meeting Monday night, the commission voted 7-0 to support drafting the human rights ordinance, and Deputy City Attorney Mark Liss told the Detroit Free Press that the proposal should be before the Commission by Christmas.

The proposed drafting of the anti-discrimination ordinance was proposed by City Commissioner Jim Rasor, who also has a law practice in Royal Oak, reported WKBD-TV.

“It’s a huge victory for diversity and economic development in Royal Oak,” Rasor said.
“I own a business and I am a job creator, I could walk in tomorrow to one of the young attorney’s office and say ‘Your heterosexual lifestyle is not compatible with this firm’s goals’ — He has no remedy under federal or state law for that,” Rasor said.

Even if commissioners adopted such an ordinance, opponents could force a public vote by gathering petition signatures. About 1,700 would be needed, according to the city charter’s requirement for 5 percent of the number of voters who participated in the most recent election.

Voters overwhelmingly rejected a similar proposal in 2001, but Rasor thinks attitudes have changed since then.

The Michigan cities of Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Birmingham and Ferndale already have Human Rights Ordinances that bar anti-LGBT discrimination.

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