TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — In an overwhelming victory, Traverse City voters on Tuesday chose to keep the city’s local non-discrimination ordinance on the books. The ordinance, passed last year by the City Commission, prohibits discrimination against gay and transgender residents in employment and housing.
Because state law does not prohibit such discrimination, 15 municipalities across Michigan have passed measures similar to Traverse City’s.
Statewide and national studies consistently show that gay and transgender people face high levels of discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations. Last month, pro-equality advocates launched a campaign asking lawmakers to update the state’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act.
“We applaud Traverse City voters for choosing to treat residents fairly and equally. Voter turnout was the highest we’ve seen in Traverse City municipal elections in years — which affirms that Michigan residents are more than willing to support pro-equality policy,” said Denise Brogan-Kator, Executive Director of Equality Michigan, in a statement.
“All hardworking people in our state, including gay and transgender people, should have the chance to earn a living and provide for themselves and their families. Nobody should have to live in fear that they can be legally fired for reasons that have nothing to do with their job performance,” Brogan-Kator said.
“While this is certainly a victory, we are concerned about legislation introduced in Lansing that would effectively void inclusive nondiscrimination ordinances. House Bill 5039 would roll back progress and limit a city’s ability to pass ordinances that are better than our outdated state law. We’re calling on local leaders throughout the state to stand up and oppose this bill.”