Holland is Ready

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s Civil Rights Department heard more than two hours of testimony Tuesday night about whether the state should expand protections to gay, bisexual and transgender people. It’s a hot issue in Holland. More than 200 people packed Holland City Hall.

State law bans discrimination in housing and employment based on some factors - like race, gender, and national origin. But there are no such protections for people who are gay or transgender. That means a landlord, condo association or employer can legally discriminate based on a person’s gender identity or sexual orientation.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

A community organization in Holland has accepted an award from the city after unsuccessfully lobbying for an anti-discrimination law there.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Holland is Ready will get one of the city’s social justice awards later this month. The award comes six months after Holland City Council rejected proposed anti-discrimination rules. A citizen nominated the group for consideration.

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.