By Colin Dilworth
Entirely East Lansing staff writer
History was made on October 15 at the East Lansing Hannah Community Center when the East Lansing City Council unanimously approved an ordinance that allows for lawful recognition of domestic partnerships.
East Lansing is just the second city in the state of Michigan to approve of such legislation, with Ann Arbor being the first, and Mayor Diane Goddeeris thinks it’s great for the community.
“I think this community, over the years, has really represented itself as being a welcoming community that has equal rights for all,” Goddeeris said. “When individuals want to have this registry and we can provide it in a way that meets their needs, we should do it. It’s the right thing to do.”
Mayor Pro Tem Nathan Triplett said he hopes the city’s actions set the tone for entire state.
“There’s a lot of momentum behind the movement for marriage equality right now,” Triplett said. “I think this is just another piece of that puzzle, of raising the awareness of inequality that exists in Michigan, and making the case for why equality is important.”
Triplett said some communities have already taken the initiative when it comes to implementing equality for same-sex couples.
“I’ve talked to a number of communities that are looking for ways to make it clear to their residents that they are welcoming and supportive of LGBT families,” Triplett said. “Now, how many of those will ultimately chose to do it, I couldn’t say, but if you use, for example, the ongoing conversations about non-discrimination ordinances as a metric, a little over a year ago, there were only 18 of those, today there are 28.”
“The pace of change in this area of acknowledging LGBT couples as valued members of our community is rapid.”
Another ordinance approved by the city council established regulations for the registration, inspection and maintenance of vacant and abandoned properties. Councilmember Kevin E. Beard said it’s been a long time coming, but he’s glad the ordinance was approved.
“This idea started in 2008,” Beard said. “Being able to inspect the exterior of abandoned properties is a good first step, but the real damage will happen internally.”