LGBTQ rights group challenges non-discrimination ordinance petitions

JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) – The Jackson City Council met tonight to discuss a complaint that was filed by an LGBTQ group called “Jackson Together.”

They claim petitions that would get rid of the recently passed non-discrimination ordinance are invalid.

The group says the city clerk failed to comply with local and state election law, stating that the petitions did not include the full text of the NDO.

However, after a lot of public comment and a 5-2 vote…the Jackson City Council left everyone wondering what’s next.

“You’ve passed the NDO…please set aside the petitions, please do what is right,” said a Jackson resident in favor of the non-discrimination ordinance.

“This ordinance does not protect the sanctity of private areas like bathrooms and showers no matter what was said by anyone else earlier on,” said a supporter of the protests.

One after another, Jackson residents stood up to share their opinions on the controversial non-discrimination ordinance that was passed by the City Council in February.

The majority of people insisted the ordinance stand, while others disagreed.

But…it was a 5-2 City Council decision that left everyone puzzled.

“Because it is still pending litigation, we’re not really able to talk about it in terms of the specific details,” said Jackson Vice-Mayor Derek Dobies.

Dobies says although the council cannot discuss what was decided because of legal reasons, he’s hoping the city of Jackson can eventually move forward.

“The council showed tonight that they are looking to resolve the issue, move forward as a city as one city,” Dobies stated.

Even though Director of Public Policy for Equality Michigan Nathan Triplett was just as baffled as the crowd, he says he’s proud to be in a room full of outspoken people.

“It’s not a surprise to see folks stand up and say we don’t want discrimination in our community and that’s the message that I think the members of the Jackson City Council heard loud and clear tonight,” said Triplett.

The City Council ultimately had two options tonight…either allow the petition to stay put or allow voters to decide the fate of the NDO during a public vote.

Even though it’s not clear what was voted on, the City Council has a hearing next Tuesday at 10 a.m. at the Jackson City Courthouse to move this process forward.

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