July 25 2013 12:00 AM

Township begins discussing LGBT non-discrimination ordinance

A screenshot of the introduction to Lansing\'s Human Rights Ordinance, which includes protections for the LGBT community.

Thursday, July 25 — Lansing Township has officially begun discussions to create an LGBT non-discrimination ordinance, joining three other Lansing-area townships that are pushing for similar measures.

The discussions in Lansing Township began at a July 16 Board of Trustees meeting.

Earlier this month, there was some question as to whether the township, which is made up of five noncontiguous areas around the city, would join the rest of the area and develop a LGBT non-discrimination policy.

Meridian, Delta and Delhi townships have been working on ordinances to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations since the beginning of the summer and plan to finalize them in the coming months.

The effort is part of “One Capital Region” and the goal is to provide discrimination protections for the LGBT community. Under state law, there are no protections against LGBT discrimination. The goal of One Capital Region is to combat that on a local level.

If Lansing Township joins the other townships, the entire Lansing area, including Lansing and East Lansing, would have discrimination protections for LGBT people.

The Lansing Board of Education is also planning to amend school policies to provide protections for LGBT employees and students.

Multiple Lansing Township officials could not be reached for comment.

Meridian Township has made headway towards adopting its LGBT non-discrimination ordinance over the last few weeks, township Treasurer Julie Brixie said today.

She said the township has already updated its board policy manual and township housing ordinance to include discrimination protections for LGBT people. She said an ordinance that covers non-discrimination in employment is in the works and would be complete within the next four months.

Delhi Township Supervisor C.J. Davis said the township’s non-discrimination ordinance is still being drafted, but said it would likely be in place by the end of the summer.

Davis said he wanted to make sure “heavy penalties” were included in the ordinance for those who discriminate. He said fines would start at $500 and go up with each offense.

Delta Township officials could not be reached for comment. But in an interview earlier this month, Delta Township Deputy Manager Jen Roberts said the board would likely vote on the ordinance at its Aug. 19 meeting.