On the circulation of petitions to change the LGBT anti-discrimination ordinance
There has been a concerted effort on the part of the opposition to the new ordinance protecting LGBTs in Sterling Heights to circulate a petition asking that the matter be placed on the ballot for a vote.
As I understand it, petitioners are telling the public that they don’t want to repeal the law, instead they simply want to put the matter to a vote of the public so it can be decided democratically. They are also stating that Mayor Pro Tem Michael Taylor somehow “forced” the legislation through in only one meeting.
None of the above is true.
What’s Really Going On
First and foremost, the petitioners want to repeal the law. There is no reason to put the matter to a public vote unless you’re hoping the vote goes the way you want it to, and the people who are petitioning spoke out publicly against the law. Signing the petition is the same thing as saying “I don’t like this law, and I want it repealed.”
Whether the petitioners oppose the law for religious reasons or for some other reason, I cannot say, but there is no reason for a petition or a vote of the public unless you don’t want the law.
Second, Mr. Taylor made NO attempt to force anything through the process or to somehow shorten the amount of time the public had to react to the issue. If you’ve been paying attention to city politics for more than 15 minutes, you will know that the process of ordinance introduction involves two City Council Meetings: one to introduce the ordinance, which is put to a majority vote, and the second to actually enact the ordinance into law, which also requires a majority vote. Occasionally, there is some discussion prior to the first meeting at which the ordinance is introduced; towards the end of a regular City Council meeting there is an opportunity for members of council to discuss new business. In this case, Mr. Taylor discussed his intention to bring a new ordinance to the attention of council during the meeting before the meeting where the ordinance was introduced.
What I Think You Should Do: Inform Yourself
The people circulating the petitions have a constitutional right to do so, and you have a constitutional right to sign the petition if you think it is a good idea and are a registered voter in Sterling Heights.
But do not be fooled: signing this petition means that you are signing on to repeal an anti-discrimination ordinance.
If you intend to sign the petition, that’s fine by me, it is your right to do so. But I would ask you to please make sure you understand the issue, and the way to do that is to read the ordinance as passed. Follow the link, read the language in the law, and let your conscience be your guide: do you want to repeal a law that simply protects a class of people from discrimination?