Bill Freeman

Law
2:08 pm
Thu September 27, 2012

Despite trespassing conviction, Holland minister won’t rule out more civil disobedience

Rev. Bill Freeman reads from his copy of the U.S. Constitution during a packed public hearing on the proposed changes to the Holland city ordinance in 2011.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

A Holland minister who’s been pushing for equal protection for gay, bisexual and transgender people says he’ll consider staging another protest. That’s in spite of a jury this week convicting him of trespassing for his first protest.

Reverend Bill Freeman is upset Holland City Council voted not to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the city’s anti-discrimination laws. One night last October Freeman decided to occupy city hall to try to get city council to change its mind and join more than a dozen other Michigan cities with similar laws. He was arrested for trespassing when the building was closed that evening.

“It’s time for the City of Holland to join the 21st century,” Freeman said, referencing changes to the military’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy and President Obama’s recent support of gay marriage. “The City of Holland knows what the right thing is and that is not to allow discrimination of anybody,” Freeman added.

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Politics & Government
8:21 pm
Mon June 18, 2012

Minister fighting for gay rights in Holland appears in court

In August 2011 Reverend Bill Freeman (right) is one of at least a hundred people who march to protest Holland City's Council's vote not to add sexual orientation and gender identity to its anti-discrimination laws.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

An Ottawa County judge is considering whether to dismiss a case against a minister who has stood up for gay rights in the City of Holland.

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Seeking Change
6:51 am
Mon January 23, 2012

Seeking to add gay rights to a Holland city ordinance

Rev. Bill Freeman reads from his copy of the U.S. Constitution during a packed public hearing on the proposed changes to the Holland city ordinance last year.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

In May of 2010, Pastor Bill Freeman asked the Holland City Council to pass a Gay Rights Ordinance. The city's Human Relations Commission considered the question for nearly a year, and recommended unanimously that the City Council add the words, "sexual orientation and gender identity," to the city's anti-discrimination ordinances.

The City Council voted 5-4 in June of last year against doing so. Pastor Freeman is trying to keep the issue alive. He’s attended every regular City Council meeting since June to ask that the "no" voters change their minds. He also tried to "occupy" city hall on October 19th last year.  He was arrested for trespassing.

As part of our new "Seeking Change" series, we speak to Pastor Freeman about his efforts in Holland.

Politics
10:40 am
Tue November 8, 2011

Minister pleads not guilty to charges for trying to “occupy” Holland City Hall

Rev. Bill Freeman (left) and his attorney Peter Armstrong Sr. (right) take questions from reporters after his brief court appearance Tuesday morning.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Last month Reverend Bill Freeman was arrested for refusing to leave city hall. He was protesting Holland City Council’s decision in June 2011 against adding sexual orientation and gender identity to its anti-discrimination laws. The proposed changes would have given homosexual and transgender persons protection from discrimination by employers and landlords.

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Politics
5:30 am
Mon November 7, 2011

Fight for anti-discrimination ordinance continues in Holland

'Until Love is Equal' founder Erin Wilson holds his son Julian. Next to him are his wife Amy, son Riley and daughter Siona. The group sell t-shirts, sweatshirts and bumper stickers to raise awareness.
Seth Thompson Epiglotic Photographic

This is a local version of a national story that aired on NPR's 'All Things Considered' Saturday.

Last June the city council in Holland voted 5-to-4 against adding sexual orientation and gender identity to its local anti-discrimination laws. Federal and Michigan laws protect residents from discrimination in housing and employment – but not based on a person’s sexuality or gender identity.

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Politics
11:03 am
Thu October 20, 2011

Minister arrested in Holland anti-discrimination fight

Reverend Bill Freeman has addressed Holland City Council every week since the vote against the anti-discrimination ordinance. He vowed to occupy city hall last night and was charged with disturbing the peace.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

A minister faces charges of disturbing the peace for protesting Holland City Council’s decision against adding sexual orientation and gender identity to its anti-discrimination laws. The proposed changes would have given homosexual and transgender persons protection from discrimination by employers and landlords. City Council voted 5 to 4 in June 2011 against moving to adopt the local ordinance.

“It’s not about me. It’s not about (city council),” Reverend Bill Freeman Said, “It’s about people who are being discriminated against in the City of Holland just because of who they are and I don’t think that’s right.”

Freeman and others have attended every city council meeting since the decision to ask city council to change their minds. Earlier this month some city council members told the group they wouldn’t change their minds, adding that the group should change their tactics.

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Culture
6:30 am
Wed July 6, 2011

What’s next for anti-discrimination laws in Holland? Lots...

Tyrone Warner Creative Commons

Last month Holland City Council voted against adding sexual orientation and gender identity to their local anti-discrimination laws. But the fight over gay rights continues in the generally conservative town.

The debate surrounds the City of Holland adopting local laws. These laws would protect people from getting fired or kicked out of their houses because they are gay or transgender. Federal and state laws protect people from discrimination – but not based on a person’s sexuality or gender identity.

The debate is not technically about the morality of homosexuality. But in a community known for having a church on almost every corner – for many people in Holland that is definitely part of the conversation.

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Gay rights
11:43 pm
Thu October 21, 2010

Holland to consider adding gender identity, sexual orientation to anti-discrimination laws

Residents packed Holland City Hall for the Human Relation Commission meeting Thursday.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

An advisory board voted unanimously to recommend city council pass the measure Thursday night.

The board has been studying the issue for months. They took it up at the request of Reverend Bill Freeman. The Holland pastor says those who spoke against expanding protections to those groups embody why it's needed. "I mean to be homosexual, or to be a lesbian or gay person in Holland - it would seem to be problematic. Because there are so many people who oppose them - oppose their existence," Freeman said.

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