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Pro-family organizations across the nation need to watch what is happening in Kalamazoo, Mich., where residents won the right to vote on a far-reaching “gender anti-discrimination” plan that effectively opens women’s public showers to men, according to one leader.

Gary Glenn of the American Family Association of Michigan says the case is just one more step in an orchestrated effort by homosexuals to normalize their lifestyle nationwide.

A Kalamazoo ordinance adopted by city officials in December would have banned discrimination based on “a person’s actual or perceived gender, including a person’s self-image, appearance, expression, or behavior, whether or not that … is different from that traditionally associated with the person’s sex at birth.”

But the ordinance became the target of a successful petition effort by concerned residents who had only 20 days to collect at least 1,273 valid signatures to force the city either to repeal the ordinance or put it up for a vote.

According to City Clerk Scott Borling, more than enough signatures were submitted, so the ordinance’s provisions were suspended immediately. A majority of the city council members said they would not support repeal, leaving a vote as the likely outcome, according to the

Kalamazoo Gazette.

It’s the second recent case in which the issue of adding homosexuality and gender identity to the list of protected classes, such as minorities or the handicapped, has been addressed in Michigan.

Two months ago, voters in Hamtramck – who supported Barack Obama by a margin of about four-to-one – rejected the special protected designation for gender identity and perception cases 55-to-45 percent.

Glenn said the issue has come up over and over in local elections in Michigan for the last 10 years.

“This specific issue has been on the ballot in Michigan in this decade more often than the rest of the United States combined,” he said.

“This is the bread-and-butter of [homosexuals'] national strategy,” he said.

Supporters of the campaign first seek so-called “non-discrimination” ordinances from local governments, then demand taxpayer subsidies for insurance for homosexual partners, Glenn explained. They then seek to incorporate protections for cross-dressing and other behaviors in state law and finally target the full legalization of homosexual marriage, he said.

Glenn noted that homosexual activists and billionaire Tim Gill said in a speech at the Democratic National Convention in Denver last year that there never has been an advance in the homosexual agenda at the federal level.

Glenn said national pro-family organizations need to pay attention to each vote, like the one pending in Kalamazoo, because of the discriminatory impact of “gender anti-discrimination” on their ministries.

Under one such law in Massachusetts, he said, Catholic Charities had to close down its adoption services rather than submit to a requirement that it place children with homosexuals in violation of the organization’s religious beliefs. He said for similar reasons the Salvation Army was banned from bidding on contracts to serve the poor in the Chicago area. There also have been repeated efforts to ban the Boy Scouts from gaining access like other groups to public facilities.

The pro-homosexual perspective was explained in a commentary published in the Kalamazoo newspaper. It said, “While people are certainly ‘entitled’ to understand that their Bible says God hates homosexuality, and some of them may want to cast the first stones, government should not support or allow discrimination based on such religious views. We contend that imperfect humans should leave to God any sanctions, if they are even appropriate.”

The commentary compared the unwillingness to endorse homosexual behavior to the worldview of the Taliban in Afghanistan.

“When people ‘know’ the ethical universe has been revealed uniquely to them by their God, moral certainty often results. Armed with their God-given version of ‘truth,’ dictating appropriate behavior for others can become commonplace. Are the Taliban not obvious examples of this subjective vision – punishing women who seek education, unbearded men and any who dare to dissent? How about the Puritans? Their intolerance of nonconforming behaviors yielded water torture, witch trials and other excesses,” the letter said.

The letter then cited the “church-based opposition” to the gender anti-discrimination plan, questioning, “Is this a Taliban-like illustration of how a sense of religious infallibility slides into moral dictatorship?”

Glenn said in the numerous arguments over such gender anti-discrimination plans in Michigan, supporters of the protections do not cite examples of egregious cases of discrimination. However, he said, “these ordinances are in and of themselves discriminatory.”

And he said while the Kalamazoo plan contains a number of “exceptions” that seem to allow religious organizations to restrict the use of restrooms, changing rooms or locker rooms on the basis of sex, he noted that in Michigan there already has been a proposal to allow individuals to obtain a paperwork “sex change” with a doctor’s diagnosis of gender issues.

While the most recent attempt to allow such “sex changes” was defeated at the rule-making stage, there will be further attempts, he warned.

“How does a business in Kalamazoo, presented with a person who obviously is a man but has a driver’s license with a female designation, deny services and not be in violation,” he said.

He cited a situation involving a “gender” protection plan from Montgomery County, Md., where opponents raised similar concerns about the possibility of men demanding access to women’s facilities, which in at least one case already has happened.

WND reported earlier on a documentary from Coral Ridge Ministries that contended such “anti-discrimination” laws are part of an effort to do no more or less than criminalize Christianity.

The “Hate Crime Laws” program focused on how Christians in America, Canada, Australia and Sweden already have been arrested and prosecuted for expressing opinions that are rooted in the Bible regarding homosexual conduct, Islam or other topics about which Scriptures express clear teachings.

“On the surface, hate crime laws might sound like a good idea,” said Jerry Newcombe, of Coral Ridge, who hosted the special. “After all, none of us advocates hatred or violence against another person. But if you look below the surface, suddenly you realize that these laws are really thought crime laws.”

Such laws have, in the case of Colorado, already have banned publication of statements that can be perceived as negative toward people who live alternative sexual lifestyles.

Opponents of the law have worried that it effectively bans publication of the Bible, because of its condemnation of homosexuality.

Canada already has aggressive “hate crimes” laws, and authorities have gone so far as to tell a Christian pastor he must recant his faith because of legislation that bans statements that can be “perceived” as condemning another person.

Some states already have similar statutes, too, and in New Mexico, a photography company run by two Christians was fined $6,600 by the state for declining to provide services to a lesbian couple setting up a lookalike “marriage” ceremony.

The documentary cites the New Mexico case and others.

“Canadian youth pastor Stephen Boissoin wrote a letter to the editor in 2002 criticizing homosexual activism and offering compassion and hope for people trapped by homosexuality. A human rights tribunal took notice and slapped him with a $5,000 fine, ordered him to apologize in writing, and snuffed out his free speech rights by placing a prior restraint on his public expression of any ‘disparaging’ opinions about homosexuality,” Coral Ridge leaders said.

“In Sweden, Pastor Ake Green spoke out against homosexual conduct in a 2003 sermon and was prosecuted for ‘hate speech,’” the documentary continued.

The late Coral Ridge founder D. James Kennedy repeatedly had warned such developments would endanger Americans’ civil rights.

“This will silence churches, which is their great desire – that churches … may not be able to say anything negative about homosexuality,” he said in an earlier presentation.

Opponents of such actions note the deceptiveness of some of the proposals. In Colorado, for example a bill “makes it a crime to publish or distribute anything that is deemed a ‘discrimination’ against the homosexual and transsexual lifestyle,” according to the Christian Family Alliance.

Mark Hotaling, the group’s executive director, said initially supporters and even some opponents of the bill explained that there was an exception for churches and church organizations. However, lawmakers then attached to the bill a state “safety clause” which is supposed to deal with laws that are fundamental to protecting the lives of residents.

The clause, he said, simply stripped away any potential allowances for churches and church groups.

“Anyone who claims that there’s an exception for churches really doesn’t know the ins and outs of the bill,” Hotaling told WND.

 


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