Traverse City is one of those jewels found only in hidden away places. After several visits to other locations around the country, I am convinced its one of the best places to live. Free of natural disasters, a temperate (yes cold sometimes) climate that sees all seasons, agricultural surroundings, and plenty of water and views. Its growth over the years only slowed by no expressway running straight to it.
There is enough of a small town flavor shown in values, and a somewhat unsophisticated nature by design, that really drives home a comfort level which makes such an out of the way place appealing. I am not the only one who recognizes the region and Traverse City itself as a great place to live. There are others, from other parts of the country, who have decided that they too, would like to enjoy all the good that such an environment is made of. They throw off the miserable living found in places of the East and West coast, and search for just such a place, found only in “flyover country.”
For some, it means that they would close the door behind them, yet for others, it means bringing all that they flee.. on their coattails to settle in ..with them.
I would argue that neither is necessary. But allow me to provide some perspective first.
Indeed, atmosphere created by the hand of God in a setting molded over the years by the natural forces is a powerful draw. But it is man who has the ability to destroy such wonders by masking it in another environment that he creates, that makes such a place untenable. And the forces to do such a thing are at hand with an attempt at thought control, limiting freedom of expression, and punishing political incorrectness.
As seen last evening, Traverse City found itself beginning the debate of a homosexual tolerance ordinance.
What an “innocent concept.” Traverse City is being asked by the (very strong) homosexual lobby to create an ordinance that gives the right of recourse to gays who feel they have been “discriminated against” by landlords or business owners, who might indicate a disagreement with their sexual preference. Calls are made for those “rights” and are based on the advances made by Blacks and Women’s suffrage over the last 200 years.
There were plenty of commenters in favor of the ordinance, and plenty of those who oppose it.
Some comments FOR the ordinance (Sorry some paraphrasing and comment disjointedness, as I am lousy at shorthand)
Jerry – A landlord who rents condos
“younger folks have a better understanding of what it means to be gay.. these are the people we want. When people ask if TC is gay friendly I say yes.. but that is just my word. However, if there was an ordinance…”
Jeff – moved here from New York City, and a current business owner.
“in 2002 a local co hired me and i was sexually harassed. every day.. I tried not to act gay. i was fired because I was gay..”
Steve – his partner above.. business owner
“10 years ago my life was threatened because I am gay. I have a number of employees. As a business owner i cant imagine firing everyone cause they are not gay”
Nick – A Viet Nam Vet
“40 years ago in Viet Nam watched a Rocket killed two of my men.. one of those guys was gay.. It upsets me to turn on 580 and listen to the homophobia”
Blake – business owner – Former chair of the TC human rights commission..
“Thank you to the commissioners for taking up this issue i am deeply in support of this .” “I have volunteered to do work pro bono for the triangle foundation I can tell you there is discrimination going on in the gay community. ” “This type of discrimination is defacto legal now.”
Barb – Former chair of the human rights commission. Talked of 14 years ago. and started crying..
“now is the time.. if you don’t do it it means its OK to terminate because people are gay.”
Ross Richardson – A public figure running for office of County Commission
“For this ordinance I don’t understand why people believe they will be harmed by some people getting rights they should have. I am so happy this is finally coming forward”
Bonnie – In support of the ordinance.
“I’m an atheist but was born a Jew.. I chose not to accept Jesus.. realized I do not believe in God.. There is a law that says I cannot be discriminated because of my religious belief or lack thereof.” With regard to determining intent, ” there are reams and reams of precedent to determine what intent is.”
Peggy – SB Owner on the costs associated on business compliance
“I am a property owner and small business owner. I am not afraid of the costs just want plain and simple equal rights”
Elan – Citizen
“I support it passionately, see it as trying to turn Traverse City into a place where consciousness is on the rise – “what would Jesus do” “Most people would agree that people would hire and fire based on work ethic.”
Marilyn M – Citizen
“I support the ordinance. I don’t believe we have the same rights ..even the kids who aren’t sure of their sexuality try to harm themselves…”
Sarah – Northport in support of the ordinance –
“Homophobia is a social disease – I was born a white person a hetero sexual – I had no control how I was born – someone who is a homosexual has not control .. I cannot imagine the horror … of the abuse to those.. Ive heard horror stories and the homophobia I have heard tonight is smoke being blown.. Not passing this ordinance would not be in our best interest.”
Melinda – Citizen For the ordinance.
“I find it interesting we have to come and seek civil protections against religious organizations that seek to limit our rights..
Charlotte – Equated Blacks and Womens right issues..
“however anybody is oriented.. they need their rights protected.”
In fact this argument fits in well with Sarah and some others.. You are born this way, just like blacks, are born black, women are born women, etc.. I have heard it before; “you like chocolate or you don’t.. You like the same sex ..or you don’t.. Its all natural..”
Is it? Really? What about pedophiles? What about bestiality? What about compulsive violent acts? What the heck if you are wired that way right? Why are those not acceptable? At what point is any behavior deemed destructive?
“Born that way” is not a valid argument, unless you want to open the doors to all manner of hideous offenses against humanity. A sexual preference is just that.. a preference. Which means it is controllable and by default a personal choice. And in a lifetime that is full of all manner of choices, it is one that has a lobby for it to attain special rights and privilege.
David Leach who at the end of his career had his reputation attacked by the Homosexual lobby in Traverse City years ago spoke up, he then recited the pledge of Allegiance to make a point:
“I’m opposed to it.. Ive had battles over the bumper stickers, been called a homophobic… ..the human rights commission came after me for practicing my rights of free speech.”
Indeed. Leach, as a police officer, was forced to have the rainbow flag on his police car, which he felt was akin to forcing him to support homosexuality. The city attorney in the end said “by posting a bumper sticker on a public vehicle featuring the flag of a particular organization or movement, the city was opening itself up to demands by other groups to allow their symbols to be displayed on city vehicles.” The city manager accepted the attorney’s recommendation and ordered the stickers be removed, at the same time, the mayor told reporters he had been conned by those who advocated the sticker.
Conned.. like is happening now? Misled? Fooled? What if we have a disagreement over what rights are. Are they given or natural? And if GIVEN… by whom?
To be sure.. Rights are not assigned by city commissioners.
A city ordinance is not the appropriate tool to determine such political ends as the homosexual lobby wishes. It becomes merely a tool for the overall advancement in the process of normalization. An agenda is what they have.
“It’s ALWAYS agenda driven, because its MY agenda! – Im tired of hearing the agenda word.. the religious right has an agenda .. Mom was worried cause I am going to be a like a black guy now, because I will be discriminated against. I want the same rights ..” “I was discriminated against. “
Caruthers also argued that the special voters election would have costs to be CAUSED by those who oppose the ordinance. He framed it that way. The election would be the choice of the voters to accept such a rule in lieu of a commission ruling. The city manager estimated the cost of the special election to be $20,000.
Never mind that the need for such an election would be driven only because of the “agenda” for special rights that the homosexual lobby thinks is necessary. Rights that they feel would be delivered by this ordinance? Perhaps not, but such a thing brings them closer to that place where what your bedroom activity choices are, become a larger part of public policy.
As for ME? I could care less what they do behind closed doors. But keep it there. And if they bring it out inappropriately, then they will pay the consequence. Hell, aren’t these the same people who have brought us sensitivity training, and seminars, and large scale employee training that has paralyzed workplaces across the country by creating an environment where saying a seemingly innocuous thing could result with oneself in a former employer’s parking lot, with a box of personal belongings?
Nope, don’t care.. THEY must live with the consequence of their choices. I can no more tell someone they cannot be gay, than they can tell me I must accept that they are.
And isn’t that the point?
Rick, a Traverse City resident says:
“I Am against as it is written, and am not against gays in general. Businesses will have to spend money on attorneys to learn how to protect themselves against litigation because of this ordinance. And its going to happen, where two folks will compete for a job and one is turned down sues.. etc.. It will cost the city, and automatically requiring small business to spend money on training to avoid discrimination.”
And in this city, where so many have come to settle, to raise a family, to start a business where life is good, it is those who decry the abuses of THEIR rights that would use the hammer of government to deny others an equal opportunity. Not only deny them the rights to control their own business environment (control of which, is the only MORAL answer here) but also to deny them freedom of association and force feed a particular agenda into their own personal environment.
One commenter, Debbie, on discussing the ultimate consequence and how she must deal with bringing her family up to deal with it, says:
“I am opposed to any ordinance that requires me to teach my 6 and 7 year old children about sexual preference instead of who is a man or woman. If you wanted to do an ordinance which requires all to be fired for JUST cause I would get behind it but not for a special group.”
Her point should not be lost. The pretense of such rules makes it clear that such preference best be explained early for the lesson purposes, lest they become victims of their own ignorance later in life dealing with the rules that might now be implemented.
Perhaps this is a part of that “agenda.” To teach your children well..
At least two commissioners asked how the determination could be made if someone’s “rights” were abrogated with regard to enforcement of this ordinance. The response given that previous “established precedent would be used” hardly answered the underlying need for the how, but the discussion on the point was nearly immediately dropped.
And some folks just call the cries for this ordinance “whining.” It seems one wheelchair bound Traverse City resident understands “rights” better than most of those who were present and are truly able to enjoy real liberty, yet cannot accept the cost for their choices. TC Resident Laura says:
“I am in a wheel chair I am not going to whine about it. I am not afraid of anyone. I have two brothers that are gay and I am not afraid of gays, friends etc.. I feel its my obligation to speak, and I am against this ordinance .. it shouldn’t be a special selected group of people.. If i get fired I am not going to find a lawyer and sue. Its LIFE and that’s my feeling on this.”
Indeed.. Our litigious society has made it so easy to become a victim. A cross-eyed look in the wrong environment can render a business owner’s personnel decisions moo,t if made while making a hiring or firing.
Which drives home an argument I have consistently made about mandates and rules that affect business unnecessarily. Minimum wage, hiring rules by the EEOC, external work rules, no smoking rules, overly broad safety rules, insurance requirements, new bank reporting regulations, IRS reporting, New health care laws, licensing , and now an expanded discrimination ordinance that gives a hammer of justice to homosexuals who might claim they are fired ..for their choice of lifestyle.
Have we not yet crossed that line where government ought not cross? And why HERE in TC??
Surely.. If it can work here, it can be made to work anywhere. Long held standards and values are merely intolerant in the views of those who would support this process of normalization. For newcomers, Traverse City just needs time.
In a place so wonderful and inviting, how could anyone object to a wish by some, to publicly exhibit their sexual preference without fear of people telling them its wrong?