Wednesday, November 4, 2009

One Kalamazoo Wins!

Did you hear that? I'll play that part again...

Cleve mentions Kalamazoo! You may remember my last post about the ordinance here in Kalamazoo that extends legal protections, re: housing and employment especially, to people regardless of their sexual or gender orientation.

This was the press release from tonight from One Kalamazoo:

November 3rd, 2009

Kalamazoo residents approve nondiscrimination ordinance

“Our campaign started with a very basic idea, and today voters confirmed that we are One Kalamazoo,” said Campaign Manager, Jon Hoadley.

With only absentee ballots outstanding, 65 percent of Kalamazoo voters have approved Ordinance 1856 by a vote of 6,463 to 3,527, adding protections for gay and transgender people to the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance. This margin is larger than the number of outstanding absentee ballots that are currently being counted.

“I am elated with the outcome of the election,” says Yes on Ordinance 1856/One Kalamazoo Steering Committee member and local resident Janice Brown. “This vote reinforces what our campaign set out to prove – that our fellow residents of Kalamazoo share the belief that all people should be treated fairly and equally, including gay and transgender people.”

The outcome of today’s vote confirmed that all hardworking people in Kalamazoo should have the chance to earn a living and provide for themselves and their families without fear of being fired for reasons that have nothing to do with their job performance.

“Kalamazoo is a great place to live and the passage of Ordinance 1856 makes the city an even better place,” says local resident Rev. Matt Laney, Pastor of the First Congregational Church. “I am proud to live in a city that recognizes that all people deserve fairness and respect.”

The Yes on 1856/ One Kalamazoo campaign in support of the nondiscrimination ordinance involved hundreds of local volunteers and contributors, and had the endorsement of over 30 local religious, social, business, and political organization. The campaign would like to thank the Kalamazoo community for asserting their belief in the inherent equality of all Kalamazoo residents, and the countless volunteers for their hard work and dedication in recent months – and in some case, years – to ensure the passage of the ordinance.

AND, my friend Terry Kuseske, a gay man, won a seat on the City Commission! So with that good news to report, I apologize again for the infrequent posting. I will do my best to post more often in the next few weeks.


  1. thats great news...!

    sad news coming from maine:( I just dont get why civil rights laws concerning a minority are put to vote by the majority..its unfair.

  2. I don't get why civil rights issues aren't before the Supreme Court - it's the only way we've been able to make civil rights laws stick for any group needing equal protection. Is it the makeup of the present court that keeps any challenge out right now?
    Great news for Kalamazoo, great news for folks who believe in equality for all. What a forward-thinking place you live, CEP. Let's hope their steps forward will lead the way for other cities. Great post, Girl.

  3. You know, when the religious right couldn't win at the national level, they made a plan (remember the Christian Coalition?) to start at the very basic local levels; school boards and City and County commissions, then build up from there. It worked for them for a long time, giving them power totally out of proportion to their numbers. It's time for progressives to do the same. Start at the local level and build up from there. But to do that, we need to work toward turnout among the young that approaches that among the old; any ideas?

  4. I am surrounded by young people that are very politically active, so my view is skewed. My daughter went and registered to vote the day she turned 18. She was more excited than when she got her driver's license. All I can offer is that if we want our kids to be politically aware, it helps if they grow up in an environment that values participation. We took little conch to political rallys, with us when we voted, march after march...and voila! Politically active kid! Beyond influences from home, the kids I see who are politically active are usually issue centric: gay rights, etc.