One Equal World

Posted on: March 28, 2012

The city of Flint, MI recently passed an ordinance stating that “race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, height, weight, condition of pregnancy, marital status, physical or mental limitation, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression or actual or perceived HIV status” can no longer be used as an excuse to refuse to lease, rent, or sell a property to an individual.

Why are there not more ordinances like this?  In the modern age it seems like this type of ordinance would be the default.  But it isn’t, and there actually has been a bit of pushback within Michigan regarding this, if not in Flint itself.

State Rep. Tom McMillin, in fact, introduced a bill in January that would keep individual municipalities like Flint from extending rights to those not included in Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act of 1976. Coincdentially, this act does not offer protection on the basis of sexual orientation.

In Flint, at least, people have their priorities straight.  As Stevi Atkins, CEO of the Flint non-profit Wellness AIDS Services, says, they aren’t going to get upset about something as basic as this.

“Flint has bigger things to worry about. Our lack of policing, what’s going on with our city government — I think that’s a more immediate need for people than a little housing ordinance,” she said. “But for many of us it’s a big deal.”

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