Kalamazoo Votes for Fair Employment

Kalamazoo, Michigan affirm that LGBT residents should be free from discrimination by wide margin

WASHINGTON– Today the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, congratulated Kalamazoo voters in their decision to uphold  Ordinance 1856, a measure that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The ordinance won by a margin of 62 to 38.

“I applaud the people of Kalamazoo for embracing equality for all,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese.  “Sexual orientation and gender identity have no place in employment decisions, access to housing, or public accommodations. Each of us is entitled to security in our daily lives regardless of who we love, of who we are. Thank you One Kalamazoo for your outstanding efforts and rousing success.”

In June 2009, the Kalamazoo City Commission adopted amendments to the city’s non-discrimination ordinance in the areas of employment, public accommodations, and housing that added sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected classes. Opponents of the ordinance were successful in placing the ordinance on the ballot. By voting yes on Ordinance 1856, Kalamazoo residents were able to ensure that everyone has a remedy if they experience discrimination.

Highlights from HRC’s efforts in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

· Contributed $2,500 in monetary contributions to the efforts in support of the Kalamazoo Non-Discrimination Ordinance.

· Mobilized more than 1,000 members and supporters via online action alerts in the final weeks before the election.

Twelve states plus Washington, D.C. have laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity: California, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington. Another 21 states prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Additionally, there are 6 states that have an executive order, administrative order or personnel regulation prohibiting discrimination against public employees based on sexual orientation and gender identity and 3 states prohibit discrimination against public employees based on sexual orientation only. In 22 states and the District of Columbia state employees are provided with domestic partner benefits. To view a map of state laws and policies visit: http://www.hrc.org/documents/Employment_Laws_and_Policies.pdf

Kalamazoo joins more than one hundred cities and counties throughout the U.S. prohibit employment discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. A complete list is available at http://www.hrc.org/issues/workplace/equal_opportunity/9602.htm

Currently, there are no federal laws that expressly prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Congress has introduced the Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2009 which would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in the workplace. The House held a hearing earlier this fall and the Senate will hold a hearing tomorrow, November 5th.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.