Members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and other human rights advocates celebrated Tuesday after the Canton Township Board of Trustees voted to make Canton the 35th municipality in Michigan to adopt a human rights ordinance, The Observer & Eccentric reports.
The only Democrat on the board, trustee Steve Sneideman gained support from his Republican counterparts to help protect LGBT rights. The ordinance protects LGBT rights in housing, the workplace and in public accommodations.
Sneideman said firing LGBT individuals because of their sexual orientation, is “not right,” the newspaper said.
Do you agree with the decision by trustees to include protections for LGBT individuals in Canton Township’s human rights ordinance?
The lone dissenting vote came from trustee Tom Yack, but supporters of the human rights code are still concerned about the opposition that could surface. Yack argued that the local government doesn’t have the expertise to investigate complaints.
Scott Green, a student at the Plymouth-Canton Educational Park, told the board to take a stand against discrimination of any kind.
“It will send a personal message to every single student, every single family that this is a conversation that needs to be had,” Green said.
The township trustees decided to address the issue now instead of waiting until January, when the meeting was originally scheduled to take place. “We need it now,” said Tina Terrill, a 15-year Canton resident who came out as a lesbian at age 48.
Canton’s vote makes it illegal to discriminate against someone based on sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, HIV status, race, color, religion, sex, age, height, weight, national origin, condition of pregnancy, source of income, family responsibilities and physical or mental limitations. Most of those protections are already covered by state and federal law.