The following letter was sent to Royal Oak Patch by State Rep. Jim Townsend, a Royal Oak resident. The letter was read at the Royal Oak City Commission meeting on Monday:
I am writing to you today to urge your support for the Human Rights Ordinance for the City of Royal Oak.
The next great hurdle in the struggle for civil rights in our country centers on the equal freedom and rights of lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgendered (LGBT) Americans. The promise of equal rights for all Americans remains unfulfilled when it is still legal to discriminate based on sexual orientation. Adopting the Human Rights Ordinance for the City of Royal Oak is a vital and overdue step toward ensuring that our city lives up to America’s fundamental values, specifically that all of us are created equal and must be guaranteed equal protection under the law.
Much has changed since this issue came before the voters in 2003. There is growing recognition across the nation and in our community that discrimination against LGBT Americans is not only immoral but a sad relic of an era whose time has surely passed. The U.S. military has abandoned its misguided “don’t ask/don’t tell” policy in favor of equality for all soldiers, and opinion surveys reveal ever increasing levels of support for full equality for LGBT Americans. Even the Boy Scouts of America are reconsidering their ban on LGBT troop leaders and members.
In the end the question of whether to support a Human Rights Ordinance speaks to what kind of community we want Royal Oak to be. I believe the great majority of the people of our city want businesses and organizations operating here to treat their employees with equality. Our residents also want their elected leaders to stand up for the same kind of values that they seek to teach their children. How can we raise our children to be accepting, loving individuals if we refuse to accept others in the most basic fashion? Support for measures such as this will make our community more inclusive and welcoming, values that I have tried to champion as Royal Oak's representative in Lansing for the past two years.
A vote for the Human Rights Ordinance is a vote for equality, progress and basic human decency. I congratulate the Royal Oak City Commission for taking up this measure and I strongly urge you to support its immediate passage.