The city council of Jackson, Michigan passed a local non-discrimination ordinance protecting LGBT people on Feb. 7. It is one of perhaps 40 cities and townships in the state to pass such an ordinance. East Lansing, home of Michigan State University was the first and did so way back in the mid 1970s! These local ordinances are because the GOP controlled state legislature has refused to expand the state civil rights laws to include LGBT people. I’m pleased to hear this happened in Jackson, which is much more conservative than East Lansing.
It took our opponents only about three weeks to gather 700 signatures to block the ordinance. And, of course, to get those signatures they were not truthful. Only 342 signatures were needed, about 1% of the population. The city council must now decide whether to put the ordinance on the August ballot or drop it entirely.
Our allies are hopeful, citing these events:
* 676 people showed up at the city council meeting to support the ordinance when it was passed. They gave testimony for five hours.
* Over 125 showed up at a rally last Sunday to recruit campaign volunteers and supporters. The rally ended with a walk around downtown as a thank you to the city for its support for the ordinance.