Monday, October 23, 2006

Ferndale Human Rights Ordinance...We won't be Fooled Again.

For the third time in fifteen years, the residents and voters of Ferndale will decide whether their city will officially ban discrimination in housing, jobs, and public services based on age, sex, race, religion, and other categories, including sexual orientation. We will either join cities and states like New York, California, Vermont, Chicago, Columbus, Ann Arbor and Atlanta, and treat people based on their character, or we will stick with many of the "red" states and conservative south and keep certain groups with fewer rights than others. The true main issue is do we want gay and lesbian people treated equally with other residents, or do we keep them in the closet and without civil rights.

It should be a no-brainer. Ferndale has benefited greatly during the past fifteen years from the new residents who have fixed up their homes and yards, and opened businesses in the city.
Young singles, gay and lesiban residents, new famlies, and professionals and creative types have made this older inner ring suburb the envy of the region. Gay people are a minority in the city of Ferndale making up perhaps 15 % of the population. But we have joined volunteer committees and commissons, and raised money for the schools and the charities. We have helped raise home values here faster than any city in the region.

The reason the effort could fail for the third time, however, is because the extremist religious- right groups like the American Family Association have targeted us repeatedly.
Fundamentalists and other anti-gay groups do not like to see the tolerance and progress that Ferndale has made. Gay people and straight people in Ferndale get along well. That scares the AFA and Gary Glenn, their leader in Midland, Michigan.

Be ready, Ferndale voters, for hateful and dishonest flyers and posters that will show up the day before the election. That is how these out-of-towners operate.

But also be ready to celebrate a historic victory. Because the voters of Ferndale are smart, engaged, and realistic. They wont be fooled again.


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