Union Township passes human rights ordinance

Union Township Board of Trustees approved a human rights ordinance Wednesday night, following suit of the city of Mount Pleasant.

"I come to you as a concerned citizen and as a chairperson for the Isabella County Human Rights Committee," said Laura Gonzales to the capacity board meeting.

The ordinance will prohibit discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations and will provide penalties for violations.

"We start out this meeting with the pledge of allegiance and I think if we're going to be sincere and honest about that allegiance, them we need to pass this along," said Union Township trustee Phil Mikus.

As previously reported by Central Michigan Life, the Union Township passed a motion on Sept. 26, to send the ordinance to publication, Trustees approved a revised draft of the ordinance on Sept. 26 with a 6-1 vote.

"In our last meeting, we had a motion of support to come to you and you express our support for the adoption of the Human Rights Ordinance," Gonzales said at the meeting. "It helps to ensure that Union Township shows that it values every person and that you are making a town to be inclusive and giving everyone their basic rights."

At the Sept. 26 meeting, Township Supervisor John Barker said the county’s ordinances, for the majority of the issues, will correspond closely with those set by the state in order to prevent confusion or differing interpretations when enforcing the ordinance.

“We’ll go with what the state says,” Barker said.

The two major changes proposed were the addition of height and weight and the removal of gender from the ordinance.

Barker said the addition of height and weight classes will be protected under Section 170.01 of the ordinance, as they are under state law.

The other aspect modified is the gender class. Barker said it will be deleted and placed within the sex ordinance, because the term 'sex' is a description of certain types of discrimination based on being male or female.

“The terms ‘gender’ and ‘sex’ are interchangeable,” he said.

Mount Pleasant's ordinance includes traits pertaining to race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sex, age, marital status, physical or mental disability, family status, sexual orientation and gender identity are covered to prevent discrimination in the employment, housing and public accommodation of individuals.


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