Post submitted by Bo Suh, HRC Digital Media Intern
On Wednesday morning, Sterling Heights became the 36th municipality in Michigan to pass a non-discrimination ordinance. The law passed unanimously after nearly four hours of testimony.
Sterling Heights is the fourth-largest city in Michigan and the first city in Macomb County to adopt a non-discrimination ordinance. It is also the third Michigan municipality to pass a similar ordinance in the past two weeks. The law protects lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents and visitors from discrimination in housing, public accommodations, and employment and carries a maximum fine of $500 for each violation.
Earlier this month, the council took a first vote toward advancing equality after hearing dozens of arguments and testimonies both for and against the law.
A group called 1SH (One Sterling Heights) pushed for the ordinance and praised the Council for their decision. HRC also mobilized Sterling Heights residents to attend the meeting and reach out to their city councilors. The proposal passed in a seven to zero vote.
Members of the community who opposed the ordinance voiced concerns that their freedoms of speech and religion would be trampled on by the non-discrimination act. However, Mayor Pro Tem Mike Taylor and other members of the community addressed these concerns by arguing that the ordinance would not take away anyone’s religious freedoms.
In big cities and small, from coast to coast and in between, in red states and blue states, communities like Sterling Heights are acting to bring equality to their own backyards.
HRC’s Municipal Equality Index (MEI) examines the laws, policies, and services of municipalities around the country and rates them on how inclusive they are of LGBT people. For more information about the MEI, please visit: www.hrc.org/mei.