Royal OakNovember 6, 2013
Voters approve human rights ordinance
By Robert Guttersohn
C & G Staff Writer
With the approval of Proposal A, Royal Oak officially became the 30th municipality in Michigan to adopt a human rights ordinance Nov. 5.
In the end, 54 percent of the more than 12,000 votes cast were in support of enacting the ordinance.
“I cannot stress how important tonight is for the city of Royal Oak — even further than that, southeast Michigan, the state of Michigan, the Midwest, the United States. We are making progress,” said Mayor Jim Ellison to an audience of supporters inside Fifth Avenue bar.
The ordinance will prohibit “discrimination based upon actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, height, weight, condition of pregnancy, marital status, physical or mental limitation, source of income, family responsibilities, sexual orientation, gender identity or HIV status.”
The commission approved the ordinance in March. Community members collected enough signatures to block the measure in April from becoming law and had it placed on the ballot.
It proved to be divisive throughout the community with most of the focus being on the provision that extended civil rights protection to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
Opponents of the ordinance, who saw the ordinance as an infringement of their rights, saw a silver lining in the election’s final numbers.
One Royal Oak, the organization supporting the passage of Proposal A, raised more than $91,000 as of Oct. 25, according to the county. Just Royal Oak, the organization opposing the ordinance, raised just $2,600 as of the same date.
Fadwa Gillanders, a resident of Royal Oak and the spokeswoman for Just Royal Oak, says the gap in fundraising levels and the margin in which Proposal A passed translates to a small victory for the proposal’s opponents.
“They had to spend almost $100,000 just to squeak out a win,” Gillanders said.