Petitions submitted to block Jackson LGBT non-discrimination ordinance

JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) — Petitions to repeal the Jackson LGBT non-discrimination ordinance and put the issue before voters were turned in to city hall Thursday morning.

103 petitions were handed over to the city clerk, containing 687 signatures.

The clerk’s office now has to verify that those signatures are from registered voters who live in the city.

“Try to find 342 good ones, which is the amount needed to put this referendum out there for the council,” said Jackson City Clerk Randy Wrozek.

The city council will then have to decide whether to dump the ordinance, or leave its fate to voters in an election.

“The state told us it will be in August,” Wrozek said.

Last month, the city council voted to extend the city’s non-discrimination ordinance to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

It was meant to protect LGBT individuals from discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodation.

If the city clerk verifies all those signatures before March 9, the ordinance would be blocked from implementation.

With a public vote looking like a possibility, people on both sides of this issue are now getting ready for what could be a five month long battle.

Multiple churches and businesses came together to organize the petition drive.

However, Jackson’s catholic churches are major players.

“There are some real serious concerns with the ordinance,” said Father Tim Nelson of St. Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Church. “It doesn’t mean they hate the LGBT community. But it goes against what their ideology is.”

Nikki Joly of the Jackson Pride Center says supporters will continue their fight for rights in the city.

“Remember that love wins, and as long as we keep pushing back and getting ready to go to the polls, it will get there,” Joly said.

The city clerk expects to have all signatures vetted by sometime Friday.

The group Jackson Together, which supports the ordinance, released this statement Thursday afternoon.

“We are calling on the City Clerk to conduct a thorough review of the petitions to overturn this ordinance because of reports that those carrying out the petition drive resorted to misinformation and fabrication to persuade residents to sign. However, if this attempt to allow discrimination is placed on the ballot, Jackson residents, businesses, and faith leaders will work tirelessly to ensure that the ordinance is sustained and that our city sends a clear message: no discrimination in Jackson!”

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JACKSON, Mich (WLNS) – In Jackson today petitions concerning the city’s LGBT non-discrimination ordinance were turned into City Hall.

Groups against the NDO want to stop the ordinance before it goes into effect and put the issue before voters.

The petitions carry more than 700 signatures that must be verified.

That process is expected to be completed Friday.

At least 342 unique signatures must be validated from registered voters within the Jackson city limits to keep the NDO from taking effect on March 9.

6 News Jackson bureau reporter Aaron Dimick is working the story in the city and will be updating online and on 6 News.

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