Lydia McGrew has an article in the Gazette about the "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" ordinance passed by the Kalamazoo city commission.
Anti-discrimination ordinance for Kalamazoo MI does not promote tolerance, it forces social change
When a Catholic Vermont innkeeper was asked to plan and host a civil union reception at his family-run inn for a lesbian couple, he did not refuse. He merely said that he would find it hard to put his heart into the work. But that was enough. He found himself facing a charge of discrimination filed with the state's human rights commission.
Elaine and Jon Huguenin, who own a photography business in New Mexico, were found guilty of discrimination and fined $6,000 by a state Human Rights Commission when they refused to photograph a lesbian "commitment ceremony."
In Philadelphia, the Boy Scouts of America found themselves out of a building. Their long-standing lease with the city for a nominal fee was revoked. Why? Because they do not have homosexual scout leaders, their policies violate the city's prohibition on discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
These are not just isolated examples, nor are they misapplications of the law. Lawsuits and punishments are the intended results of such laws, and similar cases arise wherever they are enacted. Real people who are just trying to continue their ordinary lives are targeted, harassed, and harmed. And now our City Commission wants to bring this legislation to Kalamazoo.
"Non-discrimination" sounds good, but its real meaning in the context of sexual orientation and gender identity is clear: "Endorse our radical social agenda or face the consequences." This is not the language of tolerance but of force.
A successful petition drive has given the Kalamazoo City Commission a chance to think twice. Those who truly wish to promote harmony in our community will not try to force businessmen and organization leaders to violate their consciences. I urge the commissioners to reverse their ill-judged December amendment to the city's non-discrimination ordinance.
Lydia McGrew resides in Kalamazoo.