VICTORY: Here’s what happened in Meridian Township

Last night, the Meridian Township Board of Trustees unanimously voted to adopt an ordinance that prohibits housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression. Here’s a plain English breakdown of the actions the Meridian Township Board has taken so far:

Resolution

The Meridian Township Board unanimously passed a resolution that stated the Board’s support for a more inclusive environment and the need to expand its current housing ordinance to include protections for gay and transgender individuals. The purpose of this resolution was to offer an amendment to the current housing ordinance to achieve these protections.

Ordinance

The amendment to the current ordinance allows the Human Resources Director to investigate complaints that are filed by residents. Residents may file a complaint within 60 days of the alleged violation. The Human Resources Director then has 30 days to do an investigation and reach a decision. If the Director is unable to come to an agreement with both parties at the end of the 30 day period, the case is then immediately referred to the township attorney. Meridian Township already prohibits housing discrimination on the basis of religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, familial status, and marital status. This amendment expands these protections to include sexual orientation and gender identity/expression. The definitions included in the ordinance are very comprehensive. This ordinance amendment is a good starting step for Meridian, but more work must be done, namely expanding protections to employment and public accommodations.

The real consequences of this action are important. The expanded ordinance went into effect immediately last night. There are a host of different ways in which people will be protected under the ordinance. Landlords may not discriminate against a transgender woman by providing less-than-adequate furnishings that would be otherwise provided to her. A real estate agent may not charge different fees or manipulating an appraisal of a property for a gay men, solely because the agent thinks that the man is gay.

Next steps

Please join us in thanking the Meridian Township Board of Trustees for their dedicated work! We’ll be keeping tabs on the Board as they work on creating an ordinance that will prohibit employment and public accommodations discrimination.

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