City of Lansing Approves Human Rights Ordinance

December 19, 2006

The ACLU of Michigan applauds the work of the Lansing City Council in passing a human rights ordinance last evening by a unanamous vote of 8-0. Lansing's ordinance prohibits discrimination based on race, religion, sex, age, national origin, marital status, familial status, mental or physical limitation, political affiliation, source of income, and sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing and public accommodations.

This is Lansing’s second attempt at protecting human rights in the city. Following the passage of a similar ordinance in 1996, the American Family Association successfully campaigned to repeal the entire ordinance because of their opposition to the inclusion of sexual orientation as a protected category. As a result, Lansing City residents have gone without protection from discrimination at the local level based on race, gender, sexual orientation and other characteristics for the last nine years.

“We are especially pleased that the Lansing City Council chose to include the categories of sexual orientation and gender identity. Michigan Civil Rights laws do not include this, making it legal in Michigan to discriminate against gay and transgender people.  The City of Lansing has demonstrated that it values diversity and that people should not be denied opportunities due to characteristics unrelated to their abilities,” said Jay Kaplan, staff attorney for the ACLU of Michigan’s LGBT Project.

The ACLU of Michigan Lansing Area Branch played an active role in supporting the Lansing Human Rights Ordinance, attending hearings and providing testimony, meeting and speaking with City Council members, and working to mobilize support among Lansing ACLU members.  The City of Lansing now joins 14 other cities (Ann Arbor, Birmingham, Detroit, Dearborn Heights, Douglas, East Lansing, Ferndale, Flint, Grand Ledge, Grand Rapids, Huntington Woods, Oak Park,Saginaw, Ypsilanti) in prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation.  In addition to Lansing, Ann Arbor, Dearborn Heights, East Lansing, Ferndale, Grand Rapids, Huntington Woods, and Ypsilanti prohibit gender identity discrimination.

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