On Friday, June 26, The Supreme Court of the United States affirmed what the majority of Americans support and believe: that the freedom to marry who you love is the right of every American, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. This is a giant step forward in ensuring that we are all created equal and we all deserve the same rights.
However, the ruling does nothing to protect those in the LGBT community from getting fired from their jobs or being denied housing because of who they love or marry. When making a lifelong commitment with our partner, we can share the joy and happiness of our marriage with our friends and family, but at the same time we also face the possibility of losing our jobs or being evicted from the place we call home.
That’s just not right.
On June 15, 2011 the Holland City Council, in a 5-4 decision, voted not to add “sexual orientation and gender identity” to the city’s human relations and fair housing ordinances and the equal employment opportunity policy. This came even after a year-long Human Relations Commission study that recommended the change to the ordinance.
In the four years since that vote, many hearts and minds have changed. The overwhelming support and success of Holland Area Pride 2015 showed that Holland, Michigan is an open, welcoming, and diverse community. The time has come to take the next step and join the more than 30 municipalities in Michigan that already treat their LGBT residents as equals.
Now is the time to show our city, our state, and the country that Holland, Michigan is open, caring, and welcoming to everyone in our community, no matter who they are or who they love.
Holland City Council, it’s time for a vote.