Ypsilanti Rejects Proposal To Eliminate Protection For Gays
City Law Prohibits Discrimination
[DETROIT, MI] - Ypsilanti on Tuesday became the latest Michigan community to reject a measure that would have eliminated a local ordinance to protect gays from discrimination. With all precincts reporting, the Ypsilanti City Clerk's office said 3,023 people voted to keep Ypsilanti's nondiscrimination ordinance in the city charter and 1,779 people voted to remove it and prevent officials from ever enacting a similar rule.
The city's law prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity or expression; it's based on the same principle as equal-protection laws based on race or religion.
Opponents of the ballot proposal think that without protected status, gays could be denied employment or housing because of their sexual orientation.
Beth Bashert, co-chair of the Ypsilanti Campaign for Equality, the group that fought the amendment, noted the large number of people who voted against the measure.
"That's something beyond a victory, that's a definite message," she said.
Gay rights opponents said treating gays as a protected minority grants them "special rights" that violate the religious beliefs of those who consider homosexual behavior sinful.
Gary Glenn, president of the American Family Association of Michigan, one of the organizations that supported removing the ordinance, said the group will continue pushing its agenda in other cities.
"Defenders of marriage and traditional family values will learn from the defeat here," Glenn said. "The biggest lesson learned here is to be even more aggressive about fund-raising."
Tuesday's defeat of the Ypsilanti city charter amendment came two years after voters in Traverse City and Kalamazoo rejected similar measures. Also that year, voters in Huntington Woods upheld a city ordinance banning anti-gay discrimination.