Fenton City Council adopts anti-discrimination ordinance - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Fenton City Council adopts anti-discrimination ordinance

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FENTON (WJRT) - (06/10/14) - History was made in Fenton, Monday night.

The city council just adopted an anti-discrimination ordinance protecting the rights of the LGBT community.

It's a good day for Mark Hamel, co-owner, of Crust and The Laundry. The Fenton business owner has spent the last year pushing the city to adopt an ordinance that would ban discrimination against the LGBT community.

Monday night, in a unanimous vote, council adopted the ordinance.

Hamel was delighted.

"It's been kind of a long haul, a lot of education, a lot of education for a lot of people on why it's important to have an ordinance like this," he said.

The ordinance bans housing and employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, while offering some exclusions for religious organizations.

Many were unaware those laws weren't already in place.

"I'd say 80 percent of the people in the state of Michigan aren't aware of the fact that we have a group of people that you can legally discriminate against," Hamel said.

"People automatically assume that those protections are already there, either constitutionally or by law," said Lynn Markland, Fenton city manager.

Fenton is now the thirty-third Michigan community to pass an ordinance protecting those rights.

"What it is, is providing protection for everybody," Markland said.

To some, it's a good step forward for the city, but the issue continues to spark controversy.

Controversial or not, city leaders agree the issue is about protecting the rights of all Americans.

As more communities adopt ordinances like this, Hamel is hoping lawmakers on the state and federal level take notice.

"I think it speaks loud and clearly that we're a community that does not discriminate," he said.

The ordinance is expected to take effect by mid-July.
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