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Saginaw, Mich., city council to consider LGBT non-discrimination ordinance

Monday, April 7, 2014
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SAGINAW, Mich. — The Saginaw, Mich., city council is considering a proposed ordinance to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

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The ordinance, which goes before the council on Monday evening, sets a penalty for anyone offering public accommodations or employment who is found to be discriminating against someone based on their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity, reports MLive.com.

Violations of the ordinance would be considered civil infractions and violators could face a fine of up to $500.

“When I found out that the city did not have an ordinance in place protecting the LGBT community when it came to public accommodation and employment, I thought it was something very obvious that needed to change,” said Saginaw City Councilwoman Annie Boensch, the measure’s sponsor.

The proposal has already come under fire from conservative groups including the American Family Association of Michigan, which opposes same-sex marriage, as well as other LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination ordinances in other Michigan communities

“We would, of course, encourage the Saginaw City Council to do as the Bay County Commission did, and that is to defeat this discriminatory ordinance that threatens to punish and penalize people on the basis of their moral and religious values and opposition to homosexual activity and the political agenda that promotes it,” said Gary Glenn, AFA-MI president.

Boensch noted that her proposal defers from Glenn’s cited example. the Bay County proposal, defeated narrowly in a 4-3 vote last month, sought to ban any discriminatory practices in county employment and contract practices.

Saginaw’s ordinance would apply to any businesses or organizations providing employment or “public accommodations” within Saginaw city limits. “This is not what Bay County was looking at,” she said. “This is citywide.”

The ordinance is only being considered for introduction Monday. If it is approved by City Council, the city charter would require it be held over until the next meeting set for April 21.

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