Saginaw City Council tables decision on LGBT ordinance - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Saginaw City Council tables decision on LGBT ordinance

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SAGINAW (WJRT) - (05/19/14) - After meeting well into the night Monday, city council members in Saginaw decided to not reintroduce the controversial LGBT ordinance that would protect workers, regardless of their sexual orientation. 

Roughly 30 people spoke up during public comment.

Some said they support the ordinance, but want to make sure council heard from both supporters and the opposition before making a decision.

Many were against it, saying the ordinance would be a hindrance to their religious beliefs and religious business owners.

Council could still reintroduce the ordinance at a later date, but for now, the issue has stalled out without a vote on the matter.

Almost a month ago, city council voted to postpone the ordinance indefinitely. They wanted more time to explore the issue with religious and business leaders.

"I started receiving word from several people and got confirmation from other council members that there was indeed talk of bringing it back," said City Councilwoman Annie Boensch.

When council members postponed the LGBT ordinance vote a month ago, there was no set time limit - it could be brought back up for a vote at any meeting. 

"They wanted to postpone it, I wasn't really comfortable with that at the time but assurances were made that conversations were going to be had, that this wasn't  just a delay tactic to make it go away," she said.

Boensch wanted to make sure all of those conversations are had before it comes up for a final vote.

"If we've only had meetings behind closed doors with clergy who were opposed, the understanding I had was we were going to have a public transparent conversation," she said. "Let council step back and see if the two parties that don't agree on the matter can find common ground."

Boensch is behind the ordinance. Right now - there's no state law to protect people from being fired because of their sexual orientation.

This ordinance would prevent discrimination against the LGBT community both at work and in public accommodations.

At last month's meeting, many weren't happy with the idea, saying it's too broad and would hinder religious business owners.

Still others were hoping the city would say 'yes.'

"It's a civil rights issue, you can't treat somebody as a second class citizen," said city resident Will Lipscomb.
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