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Friday, April 4,2014

In solidarity, in a few weeks

City Council President A’Lynne Boles will not allow a vote Monday on a resolution to support the LGBT community due to short notice — Jessica Yorko asks, “Why wait?”

by Andy Balaskovitz
Boles

Friday, April 4 — Lansing City Councilwoman Jessica Yorko wants the Council to show solidarity with the LGBT community after a hate crime took place in Ypsilanti Monday and as the attorney general mounts an appeal to a federal court ruling striking down same-sex marriage in Michigan. But a formal recognition won’t happen on Monday, according to Council President A’Lynne Boles.


Yorko is frustrated that Boles won’t allow a resolution to be approved at Monday’s meeting, but Boles says her intention is not to stifle the move — she just wants to give it the Council’s full attention.


“I think (the LGBT community) deserves to have full attention and as much time as we can give them. And a meeting jam-packed with other things would certainly divert from that attention,” Boles said today.


A series of special ceremonies is planned for Monday’s meeting, she added, as well as a public hearing on the Red Cedar Renaissance project (which is the subject of a lawsuit filed Thursday) and tax incentives for General Motors.


“What we have is a desire to get something through quickly. I appreciate that. We still have a process to follow,” she said.


Boles also said the resolution, brought forward on Wednesday, needs approval from the City Attorney’s Office.


It clearly isn’t the case of opposition to supporting the LGBT community, but it is another chapter of a Council member questioning Boles’ leadership style. In February, Councilwoman Kathie Dunbar disputed Boles’ ability to block resolutions to be taken up if not approved by the Council president beforehand. Boles also ruffled feathers when she unilaterally changed the dais seating chart.


Yorko says she has the right under Council rules to bring the resolution forward for a vote. As of today, it’s co-sponsored by Council members Tina Houghton, Jody Washington and Dunbar.


“A lot of people are really just wanting this done quickly to show that there’s been this demoralization since this woman was attacked,” Yorko said. “It’s just one small thing we can do to say, ‘We have your back, we love you, we accept you.’”


A woman in Washtenaw County was reportedly attacked and knocked unconscious Monday by three men because she appeared on TV marrying another woman two weeks ago.


Yorko said she still plans to introduce the resolution on Monday. She said the Council received training this week that included rules related to the governing body’s chairperson and when agenda items can be brought forward.


“If your chairperson is not following Council rules, there are steps you take to challenge the chair,” Yorko said. “I don’t think that is good for the Council to have to go to those lengths.”


Boles said she wants the Mayor’s Office and possibly state Rep. Andy Schor, D-Lansing, to be involved with a special ceremony. She plans on it being on the next Council agenda in two weeks.


The ordinance reads, in part: “The Lansing City Council supports and applauds Judge Friedman’s ruling, which serves as a righteous and important step in the open and complete integration of LGBT persons into the Lansing community.


“Continued efforts to prohibit same-sex marriage are inherently discriminatory and that they harm LGBT Lansing residents, harm children raised by LGBT Lansing residents, and, indeed, degrade the quality of life for all persons in Lansing.”


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