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Jackson city council takes up challenge to anti-discrimination ordinance

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

This week, the Jackson city council takes up a challenge to an ordinance barring discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The council approved the ordinance in February, but opponents quickly collected enough signatures to force it back to the council. 

Opponents say the ordinance gives special rights to the LGBT community.

“Granted, you want to treat everyone with dignity, respect,” says Rev. Tim Nelson, “but I think the laws we have as they are do that.”

Ordinance opponents drew a sharp rebuke from an anonymous source.

Some anti-ordinance petition signers received postcards printed with the devil’s face, with the message “I'll save you a spot down here."

Supporters of the sexual orientation and gender identity ordinance say it is needed in Jackson.

“Whenever anybody is of the opinion that discrimination should remain legal that’s obviously disappointing,” says Connor Wood with Jackson Together, a group backing the ordinance. “We believe most Jackson residents are in support of equal rights for everybody.”

The council has the option to either repeal the ordinance or put it up for a public vote.

Wood believes there is also a third option.  He thinks the council can reject the challenging petition because of irregularities.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Radio since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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