Acknowledging that heated debate over gay rights could split Royal Oak this year —as it did in 2001 — city officials voted Monday night to put a human rights proposal on the November ballot. At least 18 other communities in Michigan have human rights ordinances, aimed at protecting gays from discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations such as hotels, restaurants and taxis. Voters in Royal Oak defeated a similar effort in 2001. “I do remember the battle in 2001 and it was ugly,” Mayor Jim Ellis said before imploring voters to ignore non-residents seeking to influence the election.
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