Bay County debates proposed LGBT nondiscrimination ordinance - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Bay County debates proposed LGBT nondiscrimination ordinance

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(02/11/14) - Some in Bay County are trying to make it illegal to fire county employees for their sexual orientation or gender identity.

It's an issue many are passionate about - and the public had a chance to let their voices be heard while the commission makes up their mind.

The proposed ordinance would make it illegal for Bay County to fire their employees for being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.

It would not apply to private businesses.

If Bay County does pass this LGBT nondiscrimination ordinance, they will be the first county in the state of Michigan to pass an ordinance like this.

One by one, Bay County neighbors stepped up and let commissioners know how they feel about this proposed ordinance at Tuesday night's public hearing.

If adopted, it would add to existing nondiscrimination policies.

Many say it's about time the LGBT community was recognized and protected.

"There's nothing special about granting people privileges that everyone else has," said Janelle Lake, a Bay County resident.

"This makes a statement that Bay County is ready, willing and open to do business and really wants to encourage people of all backgrounds to come and do business," said County Commissioner Don Tilley, who spearheaded the proposed ordinance.

Many others are opposed; some say there's no need to add an ordinance to the existing policy.

"The ordinance is an abuse of government power," said Bay County resident Kathleen Niemiec. "I call it special treatment and I am against it."

Next, this ordinance goes to a committee meeting Tuesday, Feb. 18 at 4 p.m. If it passes through that committee, it goes to the full board for a vote on March 11.

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