News (USA)

Royal Oak, Mich., voters uphold LGBT-inclusive human rights ordinance

ROYAL OAK, Mich. — Voters in Royal Oak, Mich., have passed Proposal A, upholding a Human Rights Ordinance the Royal Oak Commission passed in March of this year.

Royal-Oak-MIDespite an organized effort by the anti-equality industry, Royal Oak becomes the 30th municipality in Michigan to pass such an ordinance.

“This victory belongs to the hundreds of volunteers who came together to stand with their gay and transgender friends, family members, and neighbors to have the conversation about fairness as a Royal Oak value,” said Chris Riley, a Royal Oak native and campaign manager of One Royal Oak.

“The teams from Equality Michigan, Kalamazoo Gay and Lesbian Resource Center, and the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force were also instrumental in bringing equality to Royal Oak,” said Riley.

The ordinance prohibits discrimination in the City of Royal Oak based upon actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity, in addition to the law’s existing protections based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, height, weight, condition of pregnancy, marital status, physical or mental limitation, source of income, family responsibilities, or HIV status.

The Royal Oak City Commission voted 7-0 in April to authorize the ballot question after a petition drive blocked the previously approved ordinance from going into effect.

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The City Commission approved the human rights ordinance on a 6-1 vote March 4.

Resident Fred Birchard later submitted petitions with enough signatures seeking repeal of the law, leaving the commission to decide whether to repeal it or let voters decide.

Birchard led a successful 2001 campaign to block a similar law, but supporters of the measure say public acceptance of gay rights has grown since then.

Birchard, 75, claimed the law “will allow men and boys who think they are women and girls to use women’s restrooms and showers and play on girls’ sports teams.”

The ordinance will now go into effect ten days after the election.

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