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Practice what you preach

Recently our Rochester Hills Mayor, Bryan Barnett, signed a national pact that states that “America's mayors have taken a strong position in the support of civil rights for decades, and, that in recent years, cities have undertaken efforts to integrate immigrants into their communities and have adopted a variety of policies to influence fully and treat equitably their LGBT residents."

"Today, however, we are being challenged again," the document states. "Dark forces of extremism and violent bigotry are rearing their ugly heads. We are now seeing efforts in our states and at the highest levels of our government to weaken existing civil rights policies and reduce their enforcement. We have seen an increase in hate violence, xenophobic rhetoric and discriminatory actions that target Muslims, Jews and other minorities. We will not permit them to succeed."

My hope is that Mayor Barnett has changed his views regarding LGBT civil protections and intends to introduce a human rights ordinance with protections for LGBT citizens in Rochester Hills. However, Barnett's history tends to make me believe that his signing of the pact was for political optics to further his political career.

In 2012, a group of citizens attempted to work with Mayor Barnett to establish a human rights ordinance in Rochester Hills. Such ordinances have been passed in many municipalities across Michigan including Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor, Jackson, Detroit, East Lansing and, even in small towns like Howell, Michigan.

The resolution that Barnett refers to in your publication's article (September/Downtown) just affirms the civil rights were on the books at the time (and still exist) which exclude civil rights for LGBT citizens at the local and state level. So, it appears that while the mayor will sign a pact (statement) that promotes civil rights with other mayors at the national level, he doesn't practice what he preaches where he governs.

Timothy J. Maurer

Rochester Hills

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