Voters will get the final say in a
controversial gay protections bill approved by Kalamazoo city leaders
in June, the Kalamazoo Gazette reported.
City leaders unanimously voted Monday
to put the proposal on the November ballot.
Opponents of the ordinance that makes
it illegal to discriminate based on sexual orientation and gender
identity (transgender protections) in the areas of housing, public
accommodations and employment left lawmakers with few options after
they submitted 2,088 signatures – 60% more than the 1,273 valid
voter signatures needed to qualify for the ballot box – to force a
vote last week.
Leaders have unanimously approved the
bill twice. Last January they were forced to rescind a similar
measure after a local chapter of the American Family Association
(AFA) submitted sufficient signatures to suspend the law until
commissioners voted to repeal it or voters decided its future.
City leaders wrestled for months with
the legislation before approving the measure. They listened to often
heated testimony from hundreds of citizens during public hearings.
The group Kalamazoo
Citizens Voting No to Special Rights have vociferously opposed the
legislation, calling it an attempt to discriminate against religious
groups, despite the law's exemptions for churches.
The recently-formed group
One Kalamazoo will campaign for passage of the measure.
municipalities currently ban discrimination based on sexual