Sterling Heights to vote on ordinance prohibiting discrimination - FOX 35 News Orlando

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.

  • Randy WimbleyMore>>

  • Storm damage in Oakland and Macomb counties

    Storm damage in Oakland and Macomb counties

    Sunday, July 27 2014 11:26 PM EDT2014-07-28 03:26:48 GMT
    Damage was reported across Metro Detroit Sunday after severe storms moved across our area. About 200,000 customers lost power in the hail, heavy rain, strong winds, localized flooding and thunder and lightning.
    Damage was reported across Metro Detroit Sunday after severe storms moved across our area. About 200,000 customers lost power in the hail, heavy rain, strong winds, localized flooding and thunder and lightning.
  • Person of interest sought in April Millsap murder

    Person of interest sought in April Millsap murder

    Sunday, July 27 2014 7:57 PM EDT2014-07-27 23:57:45 GMT
    We now know more about who police are looking for in the murder of April Millsap, 14, of Armada. Sunday, police released a sketch of a person of interest in the unsolved case.
    We now know more about who police are looking for in the murder of April Millsap, 14, of Armada. Sunday, police released a sketch of a person of interest in the unsolved case.
  • Vigil held for Armada murder victim April Millsap

    Vigil held for Armada murder victim April Millsap

    Saturday, July 26 2014 8:29 PM EDT2014-07-27 00:29:09 GMT
    A vigil took place Saturday night at St. Mary Mystical Rose Church in Armada for April Millsap, 14. The teen's body was found in a wooded area after she went out for a walk with her dog. Police are still searching for her killer.
    A vigil took place Saturday night at St. Mary Mystical Rose Church in Armada for April Millsap, 14. The teen's body was found in a wooded area after she went out for a walk with her dog. Police are still searching for her killer.
  • Download the FOX 2 Apps


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

  • Sunday's storm captured by Fox 2 viewers

    Sunday's storm captured by Fox 2 viewers

    Sunday, July 27 2014 11:48 PM EDT2014-07-28 03:48:38 GMT
    We have more video of the storm and storm damage from across southeast Michigan. It's Fox 2 viewer pics and video that you sent to us.
    We have more video of the storm and storm damage from across southeast Michigan. It's Fox 2 viewer pics and video that you sent to us.
  • Storm damage in Oakland and Macomb counties

    Storm damage in Oakland and Macomb counties

    Sunday, July 27 2014 11:26 PM EDT2014-07-28 03:26:48 GMT
    Damage was reported across Metro Detroit Sunday after severe storms moved across our area. About 200,000 customers lost power in the hail, heavy rain, strong winds, localized flooding and thunder and lightning.
    Damage was reported across Metro Detroit Sunday after severe storms moved across our area. About 200,000 customers lost power in the hail, heavy rain, strong winds, localized flooding and thunder and lightning.
  • Person of interest sought in April Millsap murder

    Person of interest sought in April Millsap murder

    Sunday, July 27 2014 7:57 PM EDT2014-07-27 23:57:45 GMT
    We now know more about who police are looking for in the murder of April Millsap, 14, of Armada. Sunday, police released a sketch of a person of interest in the unsolved case.
    We now know more about who police are looking for in the murder of April Millsap, 14, of Armada. Sunday, police released a sketch of a person of interest in the unsolved case.
Powered by WorldNow

35 Skyline Drive
Lake Mary, FL 32746

Phone: (407) 644-3535
News Tips: (866) 55-FOX35

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