The following letter was sent to Royal Oak Patch by David Assemany, owner of the The Aquarium Shop in Royal Oak:
As a long time business owner in Royal Oak, I am gratified to see the outpouring of support for a Human Rights Ordinance in our community. I am also disappointed, but not surprised, to see a mean spirited and vocal campaign against it. I would like to speak to those who are as yet unsure where they stand on this issue. Why does Royal Oak need this new law? It is simple really: Aside from it being the fair and right thing to do, Royal Oak needs this Human Rights Ordinance because not doing so will reflect badly on our city.
You probably don’t know this, but today it is perfectly legal in Royal Oak to deny someone housing or employment simply because of who they love or what their family situation is. Presently the Federal Government prohibits discrimination for reasons of religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, familial status, or marital status, disability and a number of other categories, but neither it or the State of Michigan prohibits discrimination against Gay, Lesbian or Transgender citizens.
Let me put that another way:
Right now in our city, you can be denied a job or a roof over your head because of who you are. That’s it, no other reason necessary. If you are Lesbian, Gay or Transgender, you can be fired or denied housing with absolutely no other justification required.
Currently our neighbors in Ferndale, Pleasant Ridge, Huntington Woods and Birmingham have adopted this ordinance. If we fail to do so, we will be sending the message that Royal Oak is less welcoming and less inclusive than our neighboring communities. If Royal Oak allows itself to remain a city where such injustices are fully legal, we can expect that current and potential residents and customers will go elsewhere, and rightfully so.
I want my business to be in a city where my customers feel welcome and safe and where should they or my staff encounter discrimination, the tools provided for by the Human Rights Ordinance will be in place to address and remedy the situation.
Shouldn’t we all want to live and work in such a community?
Owner – The Aquarium Shop