Bay Co. committee split on LGBT anti-discrimination ordinance - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Bay Co. committee split on LGBT anti-discrimination ordinance

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(02/18/14) - Right now, Michigan law doesn't protect gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender employees.

Bay County commissioners considered changing that for county employees.

It's a passionate issue, and commissioners Tuesday night were split about whether or not they want to pass an ordinance that would make it illegal to fire people based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

It would not impact private businesses.

It's becoming a heated topic throughout the Bay community.

The Personnel and Human Services committee met at 4 p.m. Tuesday. They're tasked with making a recommendation on this ordinance to the full board - but their vote was split 3-3.

One commissioner, Brandon Krause, was absent for Tuesday night's vote.

"I believe that we have an obligation as elected officials to protect the rights of all people in our community regardless sometimes if the majority doesn't agree with it, it's the right thing to do," said Commissioner Donald Tilley, who proposed this ordinance.

On the other side, Commissioner Vaughn Begick would rather see this added as a policy - not adopted as law - to avoid issues with litigation.

The ordinance would also apply to businesses contracting with the county, with an exception for religious organizations, and that's a concern for Begick.

"We have adoption agencies with Catholic Family Services and Lutheran Child, they might be affected by it, but they're not really a religious organization, but I don't know what their policy is, but that could be a problem," Begick said.

This ordinance has one more stop - the board of commissioners will take a final vote on March 11.

If Bay County does adopt this ordinance, they will be the first county in the state to do so.

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