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Civil rights, or voters' choice? Royal Oak divided over anti-discrimination law

LGBT Pride Flag
Tyrone Warner
Gay pride flag

A new law in Royal Oak protecting gay and lesbian people from discrimination has hit a bump in the road.

You’ve heard that a handful of cities in Michigan have anti-discrimination ordinances that say you can't fire or deny housing to someone just because they're gay.

And Royal Oak was about to join that club when their city commissioners okayed the new law.

But 200 people recently signed a petition to put that law on hold.

Now opponents of the ordinance need some 700 signatures by April to bring it up for a city-wide vote. 

Denise Wallace signed the first petition.

"I think everybody needs to have a chance to be heard, regardless of what side of the question you're on. Get out there and get the word out and talk to these people. Convince them that there's nothing wrong with this ordinance."

"I have friends that are gay. And I would probably say the same thing to them. Let them get out and talk to people, convince them. You know, allay some of their fears that this is gonna, you know, bring Armageddon to the city and everything."

Supporters of the ordinance say it protects civil rights, and so it shouldn't be a matter of majority rules. 

Kate Wells is a Peabody Award-winning journalist currently covering public health. She was a 2023 Pulitzer Prize finalist for her abortion coverage.
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