one Kalamazoo is the campaign to educate voters about the need to vote YES this
November and support the Kalamazoo Non-Discrimination Ordinance. A grassroots organization, one Kalamazoo believes that all people—including gay and transgender
people—should be treated fairly and equally when they live, work, or visit Kalamazoo.


1. Why does Kalamazoo need a nondiscrimination ordinance?

What a lot of people don’t realize is that right now hardworking, high performing employees can be fired from their job just because they are gay or transgender.  This group of people can also be denied some of the most basic human protections such as housing or access to public accommodations.

All hardworking Americans should have the chance to earn a living and provide for their families without fear of being unfairly fired for reasons that have nothing to do with their job performance.

2. Why is this ordinance so important to the growth of Kalamazoo?

While a significant majority of large companies recognize the benefits of inclusive nondiscrimination policies in recruitment and retention of qualified employees, the city has not yet taken this important step.  This ordinance will bring the remaining businesses, and the local government, in line with the successful employment practices of corporate America.

3. Who is protected by this ordinance?

This ordinance simply adjusts existing employment law to protect gay and transgender people, just as it currently protects people based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, height, weight, marital status, physical or mental disability, and family status.

4. How will the ordinance be enforced?

The ordinance allows gay and transgender people to file claims of discrimination with the city using the process that currently exists for other, similar claims.

5. What other cities have enacted a comprehensive nondiscrimination ordinance?

Protections for gay and transgender people have been added to existing nondiscrimination ordinances in nearly 20 cities across Michigan, including Detroit, Ann Arbor, Lansing, Ferndale, East Lansing, and Grand Rapids.

6. How will this ordinance affect my personal religious beliefs?

This ordinance will NOT affect your personal religious beliefs or practices.  The ordinance contains specific exemptions for churches and religious organizations. These exemptions allow the ordinance to be flexible enough to respect differences while meeting the requirements of the law.

7. What is the prevalence of unfair employment practices against gay and transgender people?

The Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law recently reported that between 15 and 43 percent of lesbian, gay, and bisexual people (or between 2.25 million and 6.5 million Americans) surveyed since the mid-1990s reported experiencing unfair employment practices based on their orientation.  For transgender people, 20 to 57 percent of respondents reported having experienced unfair employment practices based on their gender identity. This ordinance will ensure gay and transgender people have the same access to legal protections as other workers in Kalamazoo.

8. Was public comment sought on this ordinance?

The original ordinance was proposed and passed by the City Commission in 2008 but the Commission chose to rescind the amendment to seek additional public comment.  A public meeting was held on March 9 and followed by multiple working sessions.  Final public comments to address proposed changes to the amendment were taken at a public meeting on June 3.

9. Where can i read the full text of Ordinance 1856?

Click here to read the full text of the ordinace, as adopted by the Kalamazoo City Commission on June 9, 2009.

10. How Do I request an Absentee Ballot?

To request an absentee ballot you must be a registered voter, and you must have a valid excuse for not being able to attend the polls on Election Day.  If you are a resident of Kalamazoo, you can obtain an absentee ballot by calling the clerk’s office at 269-337-8793, or by sending an email to [email protected].  You can also pick up a ballot in person by going to the city clerk’s office in Room 104 of City Hall at 241 W South Street.

For more information on absentee voting, or to check to see if you’re registered, go to

© 2009 One Kalamazoo. All Rights Reserved.

Paid for by One Kalamazoo with regulated funds, 490 West South Street, Kalamazoo, MI 49007.  269-903-2277, 269-903-2281 (fax)