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City of Jackson adopts LGBT non-discrimination protections

Rainbow flag, often associated with the LGBT movement
User Marlith
Flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM
Over 40 cities in Michigan prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity

The Jackson City Council has voted 5-2 to expand its non-discrimination ordinance to cover sexual orientation and gender identity.

The new ordinance bars discrimination against LGBT people in housing, employment, and public accommodations.

"There was consensus and agreement that no one should have to live in fear of losing their jobs,  being evicted from their house, or refused service at a restaurant or a store because they happen to be a member of the LBGT community," said Derek Dobies, Jackson's vice-mayor and a city council member. Dobies supports the new ordinance.

"This is not only about making sure that we have a diverse, tolerant community," added Dobies. He said that it is also about helping Jackson attract millennials and a talented workforce, and that many businesses were in strong support.

Dobies said about 700 people attended Tuesday evening's City Council meeting; the vote was taken early this morning. 

"Certainly there were a lot more supporters there than opponents," said Dobies. "At one point, someone asked the people that were there in support to stand up, and  it was a large majority of the people that were there standing up - if not three quarters of the people."

Dobies said Jackson now becomes the forty-second Michigan community to provide non-discrimination protection on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Neither  Michigan or federal civil rights statutes provides such protection.

Any complaints under the ordinance must be filed within 30 days after an incident with the city's Human Relations Commission.

A violation is punishable by a $500 fine for each day the violation exists.