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Minister arrested in Holland anti-discrimination fight

Lindsey Smith
Michigan Radio
Reverend Bill Freeman has addressed Holland City Council every week since the vote against the anti-discrimination ordinance. He vowed to occupy city hall last night and was charged with disturbing the peace.

A minister faces charges of disturbing the peace for protesting Holland City Council’s decision against adding sexual orientation and gender identity to its anti-discrimination laws. The proposed changes would have given homosexual and transgender persons protection from discrimination by employers and landlords. City Council voted 5 to 4 in June 2011 against moving to adopt the local ordinance.

“It’s not about me. It’s not about (city council),” Reverend Bill Freeman Said, “It’s about people who are being discriminated against in the City of Holland just because of who they are and I don’t think that’s right.”

Freeman and others have attended every city council meeting since the decision to ask city council to change their minds. Earlier this month some city council members told the group they wouldn’t change their minds, adding that the group should change their tactics.

“Sometimes you just have to do something all by yourself,” Freeman said about being the only one who refused to leave city hall. Freeman was the first person to publically ask city council to adopt the anti-discrimination rules more than a year ago. “I didn’t check with anybody to see if it was the right thing to do or the right time to do it or anything like that,” Freeman said today, “Sometimes you just have to do what you have to do.”

Freeman posted a $100 bond. He faces a Holland district court judge on November 8th.

Lindsey Smith helps lead the station's Enterprise Team. She previously served as Michigan Radio’s Morning News Editor, Investigative Reporter and West Michigan Reporter.
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