The Rev. Bill Freeman — who says he was inspired by the ongoing occupy Wall Street movement — was arrested on Wednesday “after refusing to leave Holland’s city hall in protest of the southwestern Michigan city’s decision not to expand its anti-discrimination ordinance” to include gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people. Last June, Holland voted down the proposal, despite a unanimous recommendation from the Human Relations Commission of Holland, Michigan to amend “its Fair Housing Ordinance and Equal Employment Opportunity Policy to include ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity’ in its list of protected classes.”
Watch a local news report on the arrest:
Local activists had started a movement to protest businesses opposed to the measure and successfully flipped Johnson Control, which endorsed the nondiscrimination ordinance just hours before President Obama was scheduled to speak there.
Unfortunately, Michigan has recently advanced a number of other anti-gay initiatives. Earlier this week, a Republican-led Michigan Senate committee “approved legislation aimed at blocking the offering of taxpayer-paid health insurance to domestic partners living with public employees,” and Michigan state Rep. Tom McMillin (R) introduced legislation to ban and roll back any municipal non-discrimination provisions that protect people based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
“Continuing to allow the discrimination of some people in Holland is a violation of a higher law,” Freeman told the AP. “The majority should not decide rights for the minority,” he said.