The repeal of the LGBT protection ordinance


Last night City Council voted to repeal the LGBT protection ordinance that was signed into law this past June after finding itself in receipt of a legally valid petition to place the matter on the ballot.  There were certainly some odd things happening in those chambers last night, and I thought I would comment on them here.

  • Contradictions: one of the main themes that emerged was the complaint that the council members are there to “represent us”.  Several people enjoined council to “start doing their job”; one lady opined that counsellors needed to “start representing us right.”  Yet in the next breath, the same folks were stating they just “want to bring this issue to a vote of the people”.  This is curious to me: either you want a representative government, or you want a pure democracy.  After some reflection, I’m not sure that many in attendance last night actually know the difference.
  • Lack of critical thinking skills:  “we don’t need this law in Sterling Heights because nobody here discriminates against gays.”  Somehow, opponents of this civil rights law are preternaturally gifted with omniscience and can speak with great authority on what does and does not happen outside their direct view in a city of 130,000 people.  Yet at the same time, these folks object to the law because in their view it is “too vague” and “has too many loopholes,” which I would have taken for an argument to make the law even more rigorous if I didn’t know better.  Still others were upset because they felt the law did not give a proper exception for people to discriminate in deference to their religious beliefs.  This is the “any port in a storm” approach to political discourse: apparently “any argument that I can come up with” will suffice when confused by the facts and logic of a situation and the only thing you’re certain of is that you’re opposed.
  • Flagrant disrespect for the political process:  We actually had someone get tossed out of the meeting last night for an uncontrolled outburst, and it was necessary to threaten the same to several others whose behavior was becoming unacceptable.  Despite the fact that council listened patiently to over two hours of barely coherent rhetoric against the ordinance, a group of people decided they wouldn’t sit still for Mr. Skrzyniarz’s explanation for why he was about to give them what they wanted by voting to repeal the ordinance, and disrupted the meeting by walking out en masse.  All of these “great Americans” who were prepared to cite the Constitution chapter and verse weren’t familiar enough with the political process to avoid acting like the very rabble the framers were trying to prevent from ruling the day back in the 1700s.

To only say I’m disappointed that the ordinance appears to be on its way off the books really doesn’t cover the range of things I found distasteful about last evening’s proceedings.  I’m far more disappointed that the political process has been hijacked by folks who apparently have no qualms against prevarication in service of achieving their political ends.  I find it reprehensible that the ringleaders of this movement against the LGBT community will place themselves on a pedestal of fighting for religious freedom while at the same time ignoring all of the basic tenets of the religion they’re claiming to defend.  And I’m disgusted by the sheer lack of decency and decorum that was on display last evening.

Whatever your political view, the goal of the political process remains the same: to achieve peaceful, and maybe even thoughtful, resolutions to the issues of the day.  I would like to think that, for most of us, a fair hearing of the facts is the preferable method of arriving at a decision for or against an issue.  Distortions, misrepresentations and outright lies by the petitioners were the only way that these folks were able to bring down a decent if not perfect city ordinance.  Unfortunately, last night the nut jobs won, and we’re all worse off for it.  I hope sanity returns to those chambers soon.

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Posted on September 17, 2014, in Issues and views, LGBT and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. It’s never a good thing when a small group of people attempt to establish a religious caliphate in your town.

    Last night, at least one speaker talked about standing up to defend the Will of God. I don’t have a problem with wanting to do that. I do find it concerning, though, when the same people suddenly claim the omniscience to be Gods appointed on earth, ready and ABLE to tell everyone else why they are living in a moral abyss.

    The same crowd who are attempting to force their Christian values on the entire public would go nuts if someone came along and attempted to force them to live under Islamic standards; but I’ve long since given up expecting them to think rationally.

    I also agree with your comment about them not fully understanding or appreciating the system of government we live under.

    Several times during the signature collecting process, I was approached by people who said “what do you think about 7 people writing rules that we all have to live under?”

    I had to remind them that this is actually the definition of a Republic; the system that we live under.

    In a republic, the people elect their representatives, and then trust them to pass the rules that we all have to live under.

    Just to be clear: I have no problem with this group starting a petition and getting signatures to repeal a law they feel is unfair. That right is clearly delineated in the US Constitution.

    My problem is with the philosophy behind their actions; and the shaky moral, legal, and political foundations they stand on.

    When they lose an election, it’s never that the voters disagreed with them. It’s always a conspiracy (like in 2013 when they accused poll workers of fixing the absentee ballots)

    When some of the signatures on the petition are thrown out, it isn’t that the people who signed weren’t registered voters from the city; it was a conspiracy by the clerk’s office to stop them.

    This sort of irrational political paranoia isn’t anything new. It’s been around for years. It’s a dangerous political side-effect of living in a free society.

    I can only hope that the majority of Sterling Heights residents: the rational and reasonable voters of this city, wake up in time to prevent catastrophe.

  2. RE: Human rights protection ordinance

    Malcolm and Geoff

    As a Sterling Heights resident, I can think of about 6000 plus residents, myself included, who respectfully disagree with your interpretation of the September 16th meeting on repeal of the ordinance. None of the speakers or me promoted discrimination of anyone and as was explained, we already have both Federal and State laws that cover it. This was nothing more than a political red herring pushed by a special interest group and voted by our representatives who are suppose to support the majority of its citizens and not 2-3% of them.

    We elected people like Mike Taylor to the Sterling Heights city council, who I use to support, to represent the majority and not special interest groups like the LGBT. Mike Taylor the Flip Flopper said in the Macomb Daily of August 7th “I will do everything in my power” to ensure the non discrimination ordinance stays on the books.

    But as we witnessed at the September 16th meeting, as soon as the heat in the kitchen got a little too hot, Mike turned tail and voted to repeal the very ordinance he said he would do everything to protect. I can assure you Mike Taylor will pay dearly for that vote come the next election wherein he may not lose his seat but you can bet he will not receive enough votes to be Mayor Pro Tem.

    Malcolm, you stated people are attempting to “force their Christian values on the entire public” when I and others witnessed the exact opposite. As I stated before, none of this was necessary due to discrimination laws already on the books until the LGBT came to town and attempted to “force” their political aspirations onto others. I believe in live and let live but frankly I am getting tired of secular groups attempting to eliminate Christian values and accept a behavior we may not subscribe to. I have friends who are gay, they do not discuss their beliefs and behavior with me and I do not discuss my Christian values with them and we get along fine.

    In closing, I take issue with Malcolm who said “I have no problem with people and a petition to repeal which is delineated in the constitution” but then go on to say “I have a problem with the actions and legal foundation they stand on”.

    You can’t have it both ways Malcolm and the residents did act within the law. I congratulate my fellow residents on repeal of this ordinance.

    • Dennis,
      The statement that none of the speakers promoted discrimination of anyone is a bold-faced lie. Already have Federal and State laws that cover it? Another bold-faced lie.

      Representative government is bound to represent all interests, not just those of the majority. You are proposing a tyranny of the majority which is morally abhorrent.

      As for your threats to Mr. Taylor and your name-calling: *your* candidate came in second-loser to Nate Shannon, who missed being elected by a significant margin and was substantially better qualified despite the fact that I find very little I agree with him on politically. Before you start making threats, why don’t you examine your own ticket? I think you will find it to be staffed with candidates ranging from the mildly to completely, wildly delusional.

      So you don’t talk with your “gay friends” about their beliefs and behavior, eh? Some friend you are.

      Honestly, sir, you are on the wrong side of history, and ultimately these guarantees of freedom are going to be extended to all. Today, they currently are not.

      I look forward to watching your Christian Caliphate go down in the flames it so richly deserves to find itself in.

      • Geoff, you are entitled to your opinion as we all are but I am curious about one thing.

        I have never met or spoken to you, how do you know who and what candidate I support other than what I stated? Frankly I have not paid that much attention other than when Mike Taylor voted a $200 dollar increase in my taxes and this recent issue.

        Why so much anger and wishing a “caliphate” on others?

        I have not lied and I was being respectful of you.

      • Ok, I’ll back away from calling it a pack of lies and do this instead:

        • None of the speakers or me promoted discrimination of anyone untrue

          I don’t know you, have no idea of what you look like, and cannot recall what you said. However, there was plenty of anti-LGBT sentiment at the meeting, and there certainly is in your original message, which states “until the LGBT came to town and attempted to “force” their political aspirations onto others”

          Um, sir, the LGBT community is all around you. They don’t have to “come to town” although there were certainly interested parties who spoke who did not reside here, which is their right. This is the USA, and we have the freedom of speech regardless of what our address is.

        • we already have both Federal and State laws that cover it. untrue
          You have not identified yourself as an attorney. Actual attorneys have weighed in on this matter. There are NO “Federal and State laws that cover (it)”. We paid for the research, we got the results, your assertions notwithstanding. I might add that “Mike the Flip Flopper” is an actual attorney himself. I trust his read of the law far more than that of a religiously motivated, self-styled “defender” of Christian values.

        I am not a Christian, but I do seem to recall that Christ spoke with criminals, lepers and prostitutes, the “LGBT” community of his time. I’m sure that Christ probably did not approve of prostitution, but I’m equally certain that he did not condemn their very existence as an “attempt to force their political aspirations onto others.” Would that you could truly be a Christian and live by that example.

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