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Five Cities Decide Gay-Rights Issues

November 7, 2001

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) _ Gay-rights supporters went four-for-four at the ballot box Tuesday on amendments dealing with gay discrimination and benefits for same-sex partners.

Voters in Traverse City and Kalamazoo rejected amendments that would have prevented their cities from enacting policies protecting gays from discrimination. In Huntington Woods, voters upheld a city ordinance banning anti-gay discrimination.

In Miami Beach, Fla., voters said the city should provide employee benefits to domestic partners.

Voters in Houston faced a similar question. With 94 percent of precincts counted, 52 percent of voters favored an amendment to Houston’s charter that would prohibit the nation’s fourth-largest city from offering benefits to gay domestic partners; 48 percent opposed it.

With all precincts reporting in Traverse City, 58 percent of voters opposed amending the city’s charter to prohibit measures that would grant gays, lesbians or bisexuals ``protected″ status. Forty-two percent favored the change.

A similar city charter amendment in Kalamazoo failed with 54 percent opposed and 46 percent in favor.

The proposed amendment in Traverse City was spurred by a backlash to a city commission resolution opposing discrimination on a number of grounds, including sexual orientation. The failed amendment would have nullified that resolution and blocked future gay rights policies in Traverse City.

Both cities’ amendments were based on a 1993 Cincinnati amendment that has been upheld by the courts.

In Huntington Woods, a Detroit suburb, 69 percent voted to uphold an ordinance approved by the city commission earlier this year banning anti-gay discrimination; 31 percent opposed it.

In Miami Beach, 65.7 percent of voters approved offering health care coverage to the domestic partners of gay and lesbian city employees, while 34.3 percent opposed it.

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