No 'Special Rights' for Homosexuals, Transgenders

By Susan Jones | August 1, 2008 | 8:40 AM EDT

A coalition of citizens, businesses, and religious groups are challenging a Hamtramck, Mich., human rights ordinance that gives "special rights" to homosexuals, critics say.

( - A conservative legal group has joined the fight to overturn a Hamtramck, Mich., ordinance that gives "special rights" to homosexuals and transgender individuals.
The Thomas More Law Center said it will act as legal counsel for a coalition of citizens, businesses, and religious groups that are challenging the ordinance, which makes it legal for men who identify as women to use women's bathrooms in any school, business or public facility.
"In classic Orwellian doublespeak, the ordinance defines such behavior as 'Natural Rights of Hamtramck Residents,'" the Law Center noted.
“Radical homosexual activists have taken over city councils like Hamtramck all across the nation," said Richard Thompson, president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Law Center. "These ordinances end up being used to bully and prosecute Christians who faithfully practice their religion.”
The ordinance provides that no person be discriminated against because of “actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, height, weight, condition of pregnancy, martial status, physical or mental limitation, source of income, family responsibilities or status, educational association, sexual orientation, gender identify, gender expression or handicap.”
The ordinance covers housing practices, public accommodations, employment and city contracts. It sets up a procedure for complaints, investigations, prosecutions and penalties.
The law center objects to the ordinance because of the following “disturbing aspects”:
-- Excessive entanglement by the city in internal aspects of religious organizations;
-- Men being allowed to use women’s restroom and other facilities specifically designated for women.  To even question a man on the propriety of them using the women’s facilities -- whether dressed as a women or not -- could be grounds for a discrimination complaint, $500 fine for each day this occurs, and a civil lawsuit;
-- Men dressed as women teaching grade school children
-- Civil litigation to force businesses, schools, and even religions to conform and accept these deviant lifestyle choices.
At a rally and press conference held in front of the Hamtramck City Hall on Tuesday, July 29, a citizens’ group announced they'd gathered over a thousand signatures -- more than twice the amount needed to place an initiative on the November ballot to overturn the ordinance. 
Voters will decide whether the ordinance, passed on June 10, remains on the books.
Councilwoman Katrina Stakpoole, who supports the ordinance, called the citizens’ gathering a “hate rally,” the Law Center said.
Michigan Equality, a homosexual advocacy group, has promised to help Hamtramck fight the petition drive, which it attributes to non-resident conservative activists
"Recognizing the need for basic civil protections for all residents, Michigan Equality is proud to stand by other local organizations to defend the freedom of all Hamtramck citizens," said Derek Smeirtka, Executive Director of Michigan Equality, in a statement o the group’s Web site.
Doug Meeks, president of Michigan Equality, said, “Freedom for a select few is not what this country was founded on. All citizens in Hamtramck and throughout the state of Michigan have a right not to be discriminated against; Michigan Equality is prepared to stand with the Hamtramck City Council, and residents fighting to ensure equality for all citizens in Hamtramck.”
But conservatives say the ordinance was specifically enacted to give “special privileges to homosexuals and so-called ‘transgendered,’” who already are covered under state and local civil rights acts.
State and local government already cover every group listed in the ordinance through various civil rights acts.
“In effect, this ordinance will help these two groups discriminate against faithful Christians and others that find the acts of homosexuals and so-called “transgenders” antithetical to their faith, their right to practice their faith, and their free speech rights to pronounce their objections to these deviant lifestyle choices,” the Law Center said.