City housing policy & state law

As we head into the November 7 mayoral election, I want to be open with you and other voters about my beliefs and where I stand on the issues.

Elections are important and determine our future direction.

Because I receive occasional questions about public policy as it relates to sexual identity – specifically as it pertains our city’s housing policy which adheres to state law – I thought this information might be helpful.

Generally speaking, when it comes to the issue of sexual identity and one's personal expression of it, I'll admit to you that my position is anchored in my own faith perspective – and I fully acknowledge that good people (faith-anchored or not) may disagree.

At the same time, though, I believe we make a mistake when we assume that any one side on this issue is 100% in the right.

Here’s why.

No caring person wants to see a person negatively impacted by their sexuality any more than that same caring person would want to see a person negatively impacted by their sincerely held religious beliefs.

While this viewpoint may seem non-controversial, for some it’s not. I get this. But it causes me to be wary about the rapid spike in lawsuits that inevitably occur whenever a specific group is accorded special “protected class” status.

And unfortunately, this circumstance is magnified when a group (like one falling under the broad banner of sexual identity) has ever-evolving legal characterizations.

I believe we need to be mindful about the full range of unintended consequences.

For example, East Lansing has a broad sexual identity ordinance, and as the following situation illustrates, the East Lansing ordinance comes along with its own measure of unfair and hurtful consequences, depending on your personal point of view.

Here's the recent article from the Detroit News.

Do you believe it’s fair for this farmer (who is a principled Marine veteran and an acknowledged non-discriminatory employer) to be treated in this manner?  Is it right for him to now have more difficulty in supporting his family?

These are troubling questions.

But I hope after reading the news article, you can understand why I believe grounding Holland's housing policy in our current state law is the best and fairest public policy.

UPDATE: A federal judge has ruled the farmer can return to the East Lansing city market