Royal Oak considers ordinance banning anti-gay discrimination

Royal Oak leaders consider ordinance which would ban anti-gay discrimination in housing, employment

By Mara MacDonald - Reporter

ROYAL OAK, Mich. - The city of Royal Oak is considering an ordinance which would make it illegal to discriminate against gays in the city.

Those who spoke at the City Commission meeting Monday night were largely in support of the ordinance which would ban anti-gay discrimination in housing and employment. Royal Oak could be steps closer to joining its neighbors to the north and south in protecting gays.

While voters in the city rejected a similar human rights ordinance in 2001, the people who live and work in the city say they think this time it will happen.

Cloverleaf Fine Wines fits the Oakland County city's fashionable sense. It is a special, intimate place with nothing "cookie cutter" about it.

"You get a way more unique product," said Cloverleaf owner Kyle Evans. "You get people who are super passionate about what they're doing and people who are passionate about it in the store everyday."

The decision Evans and fellow owner Michael Checutti made to locate their wine store in Royal Oak had to do with the city's reputation as a fashionable destination in Metro Detroit. They work long hours but still made time to get to the City Commission meeting on Monday night.

"The issue of human rights is very important to a lot of the city commissioners. It's very important to the mayor and we want to be there to support them," said Checutti.

Among the residents who spoke at the meeting, one man stood out.

"To actually be honest with you, I am bigoted. I really am. I don't like white trash. I don't like black trash. I don't like homosexual trash and I don't like heterosexual trash. That's the only thing I'm against. So as long as you move into my neighborhood and you pick up your damn yard, I don't care what you do. Thank you very much," the man said.

Has 10 years time changed attitudes in the city?

The city will have to draft the ordinance followed by meetings and public hearings before anything gets going.

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