Andrew Trzaska | August 14, 2012
Discrimination by one’s sexual orientation or gender identity is now prohibited in the City of Muskegon’s hiring and housing policies.
Muskegon resident Roberta King advocated for the resolution earlier this year. The passage of the resolution comes amidst previous rejections of similar policies by the City of Holland despite vocal public advocacy.
The Muskegon City Commission unanimously passed the resolution at Tuesday’s full commission meeting.
Religion, gender, race and other attributes already receive protection under the city’s equal opportunity hiring practices and housing regulations.
While the commission passed the resolution unanimously, some questions and doubts have surfaced over the course of the policy’s adoption. Commissioners Willie German and Byron Turnquist expressed concerns about the wording of the ordinance in March, and at least one member of the public expressed worries that the provision could come back to bite the city.
Muskegon resident Donnell Harvey spoke on the issue Tuesday, stating that the resolution could open doors to lawsuits against the city for discrimination:
“When I think about the resolution… anyone can now come and claim special status.”
Harvey stated that he believes gender identity and sexual orientation are private matters. He then suggested a hypothetical situation where a person in the running for a job could claim that the City somehow identified his or her gender identity and opted not to hire them based on what they believed.
While the resolution passed, Harvey spoke in terms of generational changes in the city, and hoped the city would reconsider before baby boomers gave way to a new generation who would grow up under the resolution.
“Maybe down the road this can be addressed again, and I hope that it does.”