Sterling Heights to vote on ordinance prohibiting discrimination - KMSP-TV

Sterling Heights to vote on ordinance prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation

Posted: Updated:
STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. (WJBK) - It's another battle involving gay rights in the seemingly never-ending culture wars. The latest front: Sterling Heights.

"There's a loophole in the law currently, and you can't get fired from your job for your race, gender, if you're Catholic or Jewish but, unfortunately, in the United States and specifically here in Sterling Heights you can be fired just because of your sexual orientation," says councilman Doug Skrzyniarz.

He introduced the ordinance that would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

For partners and Sterling Heights firefighters Lisa Schultz and Tracy Davis the proposed legislation is more like a preemptive strike.

"Our city has treated us great but that doesn't mean that won't change in the future, you know, if we hire a different chief, city manager, mayor. I'm still hopefully looking at a 9-, 10-year career here and my job could be on the line," Schultz says.

They say much of the opposition is coming from the Sterling Heights religious community.

"What would Jesus do? If this came about in his time, would he not embrace these people?" asks Joe Romano, a Sterling Heights councilman.

"I do believe that Jesus loves everybody, that's not the problem. But Jesus says, 'I am love. Love everyone,' and he also says, 'I am the truth.' I believe that I have to stand up for the truth," says Father John Simoneau.

He is just one of many in Sterling Heights opposed to the ordinance.

Although there are exceptions for churches, religious organizations and any housing facilities they operate, Simoneau is concerned about religious business owners.


"This can open up to risky stuff," Father Simoneau says. "If somebody actually ends up getting sued because they say, 'Listen, I can't do this because I don't believe in that but you can go somewhere else, I mean there's no other problem,' I don't think there should be a reason and even a legal foundation to sue them."

"Religious freedom doesn't mean you have the freedom to discriminate even on religious grounds," says Skrzyniarz. "When you're providing services to your customers or your employees, you can't just use your own personal opinion or your faith to decide how you're going to treat other people in the community."

Supporters say the ordinance would be good for the economy, attracting a more diverse work base and companies that want to hire from it.

The debate over this issue is far from over and will soon come to a head

The City Council meeting is set for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

  • Download the FOX 2 Apps


  • FOX 2 News Five-Day Forecast
  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • All you need to know: Arts, Beats and Eats 2014

    All you need to know: Arts, Beats and Eats 2014

    Friday, August 29 2014 10:44 AM EDT2014-08-29 14:44:11 GMT
    Celebrating its 17th year and returning to the bustling streets of Royal Oak from Aug. 29 - Sept. 1, Ford Arts, Beats Eats presented by FirstMerit Bank will entertain thousands of visitors from across the region with its outstanding music line-up, stellar arts programming, mouthwatering selection of food, and a number of new attractions this Labor Day weekend.
    Celebrating its 17th year and returning to the bustling streets of Royal Oak from Aug. 29 - Sept. 1, Ford Arts, Beats Eats presented by FirstMerit Bank will entertain thousands of visitors from across the region with its outstanding music line-up, stellar arts programming, mouthwatering selection of food, and a number of new attractions this Labor Day weekend.
  • All You Need to Know: Fifth Third Bank Michigan State Fair

    All You Need to Know: Fifth Third Bank Michigan State Fair

    Friday, August 29 2014 9:56 AM EDT2014-08-29 13:56:12 GMT
    The Michigan State Fair is kicking off in Novi with carnival rides, circus shows and farm animals. Located off Grand River, the fair opens Friday Aug. 29 to Labor Day Sept. 1 from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.
    The Michigan State Fair is kicking off in Novi with carnival rides, circus shows and farm animals. Located off Grand River, the fair opens Friday Aug. 29 to Labor Day Sept. 1 from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Detroit police believe three shootings gang-related

    Detroit police believe three shootings gang-related

    Friday, August 29 2014 8:15 AM EDT2014-08-29 12:15:04 GMT
    In total there has been three shootings within 12 hours and two miles of each other - and police believe there is a connection.
    In total there has been three shootings within 12 hours and two miles of each other - and police believe there is a connection.
Powered by WorldNow

KMSP-TV
11358 Viking Drive
Eden Prairie, MN 55344

Phone: (952) 944-9999
Fax: (952) 942-0455

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices