BY BTL STAFF
Jackson Together has filed suit against Jackson City Clerk Andrew Wrozek and the City of Jackson. The lawsuit outlines numerous violations of the both the Jackson City Charter and state law related to a deficient referendum petition aimed at repealing the City of Jackson’s Non-Discrimination Ordinance and allowing discrimination in Jackson. The suit asks the Circuit Court to order Clerk Wrozek and the City to decertify the referendum petitions and refuse to suspend or repeal the NDO.
“Jackson Together has given Clerk Wrozek and his backers on the City Council every opportunity to do the right thing, follow the law, and reject these invalid petitions,” said Connor Wood, Jackson Together campaign manager.
“While several City officials have acknowledged that both the petition and the conduct of Clerk Wrozek violated the law, the intransigence of the Clerk, with the support of Mayor Jors and Councilman Pappin, left us with no option but to seek redress through the courts. The fact that these three men personally support discrimination does not relieve them of their duty to follow the law.”
Mayor Jors and Councilman Pappin were the only members of the Jackson City Council to vote against the NDO when it originally passed. Despite receiving a letter from Jackson Together, via its legal counsel, outlining the petition’s numerous legal deficiencies and the City Clerk’s failure to adhere to the requirements of the Jackson City Charter and state law, Mayor Jors and Councilman Pappin are also the only members of the City Council that have continued to defend the propriety of the petition and the Clerk’s actions.
“In my time in Jackson, I’ve experienced slurs and been mistreated repeatedly based on nothing more than the fact that I am gay,” said Jackson small business owner Shane Stephens. “When the NDO passed I felt for the first time like my business and I belonged and were welcomed in this community. It’s difficult to express just how painful it is to have Mayor Jors and Clerk Wrozek working so hard to make sure it’s legal to discriminate against people like me. It’s wrong. It’s hurtful. Jackson deserves better from these men.”
Jackson Together is being represented by John Pirich of Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP. Pirich is one of the state of Michigan’s preminant election law attorneys, with recent successes in challenging a statewide petition aiming to repeal Michigan’s prevailing wage in 2015.
The lawsuit has been assigned to Judge Thomas Wilson and scheduled for a hearing on April 11 at 10 a.m. The Jackson City Council has called a special meeting to discuss their response to the lawsuit tonight at 6 p.m.