Jackson non-discrimination ordinance heads to final vote

JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) – After years of debate, the Jackson City Council is set to finally make a decision on a non-discrimination ordinance that protects sexual orientation.

The planned ordinance is designed to protect the LGBT community in housing, employment, and public accommodations.

A huge crowd is expected to turn out for Tuesday night’s vote, so the city council meeting has been moved to the Michigan Theatre in downtown Jackson.

It’s a big decision that’s bringing out lots of support, but also concern.

As a rainbow mural at the Jackson Pride Center nears completion, organizers hope it will shine even brighter after Tuesday.

“We need Jackson to be a more inclusive place for everybody,” said Jackson Pride Center Director Nikki Joly.

Last month, the non-discrimination ordinance passed its first reading four to three.

One of the no votes came from Mayor Bill Jors.

“I have been against it from the beginning,” Jors said.

The mayor says he doesn’t believe government should tell businesses how to operate.

He believes discrimination is sometimes a gray area that’s hard to discern.

“From the minute we wake up in the morning, we start discriminating. Life is a series of choices, a series of discriminations,” Jors said.

The mayor has made statements like this in media interviews recently, drawing lots of criticism on social media.

Jors clarified that while he doesn’t condone discrimination against anyone, he doesn’t see why the LGBT community needs protection.

“If it was an issue, it would have been apparent to me by now. To try to eliminate discrimination through legislative measures or government laws has never worked in history,” Jors said.

The pride center says discrimination does happen in Jackson, and the ordinance would provide a framework to report it.

“There’s a huge difference between selecting someone who’s best suited for the job and discriminating against something they were born with,” Joly said.

Several businesses and organizations have voiced support for the ordinance, bolstering momentum for the big vote.

“The community is ready for this here in Jackson,” Joly said.

Jors says he’s encouraged to see so many people interested in city government, but does not want the ordinance to pass through the city council.

“I think it leads to more division among groups of people within Jackson,” Jors said.

If the ordinance fails with the council, it could go before voters.

The city council meeting starts at 6:30 p.m.

Supporters of the ordinance are having a rally before the meeting takes place at 5 p.m. at First Congregational Church.

At 6 p.m., supporters are planning a march from the church to the theatre.

Stay with 6 News on air and online for the latest.

 

 

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