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Resident to Ask Rochester Hills Leaders to Oppose Civil Rights Bill

House Bill 5039, proposed by state Rep. Tom McMillin, would stop cities from extending special rights to gays and lesbians.

A Rochester Hills man is expected tonight to ask city leaders to help him oppose a law proposed by the city's state representative — a law he says would "roll back civil rights."

Tim Maurer has been working to urge Rochester Hills leaders to oppose House Bill 5039, a measure proposed in October by state Rep. Tom McMillin (R-Rochester Hills). The bill would prohibit municipalities from extending special rights to those not covered by the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act of 1976.

The Elliott-Larsen Act protects people on the basis of religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, weight, height, familial or marital status. But it does not offer protection on the basis of sexual orientation.

Many municipalities have approved their own ordinances that extend the act's protections. This House bill would take away the ability of municipalities to enact such ordinances.

Maurer admits he may be an unlikely critic of the bill.

"People may look at me and say, 'You're a straight white male with a wife and two kids living in Rochester Hills,'" he said. "But I know some gay and lesbian people in this town. To me, the bill says to them 'Rochester Hills is no place for you.' "

Maurer has always been interested in politics and grew up in a family in which voting was a priority and being interested in politics was a civic duty.

"I never thought an elected official in Michigan would attempt to roll back civil rights," he said.

House Bill 5039 is pending in the House Judiciary Committee. There has been no action on the bill since it was offered by McMillin in October. It is not on the immediate agenda of any committee meetings.

McMillin has defended the bill as making civil rights protections uniform at a state level.

“I’ve been somewhat active throughout the years in trying to stop some of these special-rights ordinances for homosexual behavior, and noticed they’re often used to discriminate against Christians,” McMillin said, according to a report on CitizenLink.com, an affiliate of Focus on the Family.

“Under 5039, the municipalities have to abide by what the state calls a protected class. This merely says the debate should be at the state level. We can’t have a patchwork of protected classes (that means) depending on which side of the street you live on, businesses have to operate differently.”

Maurer planned to attend tonight's Rochester Hills City Council meeting to urge councilmembers to adopt a resolution in opposition to House Bill 5039.

"Rolling back civil rights isn't Rochester Hills," he said. "We're too educated for that. We have future state leaders sitting at that table."

The resolution, which Maurer helped draft, reads as follows:

WHEREAS, the diversity of our community makes Rochester Hills a great place to live, work, and raise a family; and

WHEREAS, the City of Rochester Hills recognizes that respect for diversity is a vital component of successful economic development and talent retention; and

WHEREAS, Article VII, Section 22 of the Michigan Constitution guarantees each city and village the “power to adopt resolutions and ordinances relating to its municipal concerns”; and

WHEREAS, the State has no legitimate interest in restricting the ability of local units of government to adopt anti-discrimination ordinances that reflect the values and unique circumstances of our communities and opposes House Bill 5039 and urges the Michigan Legislature to defeat this legislation.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that a copy of this resolution be transmitted to State Representative Tom McMillin, State Senator Jim Marleau and the members of the State House Judiciary Committee.

The Rochester Hills City Council meets at 7 tonight at the . The resolution is not on the agenda. Maurer said he will speak about it during the public comment section of the meeting.

McMillin will hold in-district office hours in the building 4-6 p.m.

Daryl Patrishkoff January 26, 2012 at 02:55 AM
Leigh, I am stating that this bill does not single out and bash gay people. If we all read the bill and all the words we find it does not take any Civil Rights away. It says to do this type of legislation the State level. It is a great thing to have this protection at the State level. If I read the quotes by Tim he states "I never thought an elected official in Michigan would attempt to roll back civil rights." Explain to me how this statement is not grandstanding to get people thinking it is a major bill that is taking peoples Civil Rights away. This is misleading, he needs to stick to the words in the bill and not add what he thinks it says. As stated earlier, I believe anyone can live their life the way they choose as long as they do not break the law. I do not believe I am bullying Tim, I am calling him out on his grandstanding and previous misleading article. I am stating my opinion and engaging in a debate that is what this forum is about. I strongly disagree with the individual that personally attacked Tim and his wife, that is bullying and has no place in this discussion.
Daryl Patrishkoff January 26, 2012 at 03:01 AM
Ryan, The facts I state are the words in the bill which nowhere bashes or discriminates against gays. If you read the bill you will find out this is a fact. How do you dispute this fact? My opinion is that I believe we should do this type of legislation should be done at the State level. I believe we do not need any of these types of rules at the local level; it will cause confusion, inefficiencies and added expense to the local entity.
Jean Forrester February 10, 2012 at 08:35 PM
I support Tom McMillen's efforts. The community will be no less diverse, just standing in the gap between what is right morally and what is wrong. Jean
Brian Kirksey February 10, 2012 at 09:27 PM
Wow Jean morally right, your moral compass points south... Why don't you tell us how we can throw Jesus's teaching's out the window and discriminate against people in the name of religion while your at it. Let me guess you are going to tell us how you are a Christian?
Stephen February 11, 2012 at 01:46 AM
What a waste of time, this is not Selma, Al in the 60's... We all have human rights and are protected by the laws of discrimination. IMHO we should embrace all cultures and diversity here in Rochester Hills as a leader of human equality. Be proactive and call city hall with your disgust with McMillin who is homophobic. This is a just an irresponsible cost of our tax dollars...

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