TC Equality
  | An Investigative Report


Traverse City Equal Opportunity Ordinance | a brief history

Pastor Fred Phelps  
Fred Phelps Jr. in Traverse City

About a decade ago in NW Michigan, groups such as the Neo-Nazi Skinheads, Fag Free TC, Gay Watch, TC Yes, and AFA-TC were leading the charge against civility, community, fairness, and equality in northern Michigan, with support from the American Family Association out of Tupelo Mississippi and Gary Glenn from Midland Michigan.

Locally Paul Nepote, Bill Wiesner, Matthew Schoech, and Rita Rathburn lead the campaign against equal protection in a ballot issue known as Proposal 1.

Neo-nazi skinheads were in the area planning their International Nordic Festival bringing neo-Nazis, Klansmen, and other white supremacists together [STORY]. People of color, as well as people who were perceived to be gay and lesbian, had become targets for threats and attacks. Homes and property were vandalized. A cross was burned on the front lawn of an African American family. Threats of personal injury were reported by people who were perceived to be gay. Tensions ran high. A flag pole was driven through the windshield of an automobile thought to be driven by a minority, tires were slashed in the parking lot of a local night club hosting a popular African American musical group, a gay bartender was chased by Neo-Nazi skinheads brandishing wooden clubs, an outhouse was burned to the ground at the Friends North annual bike tour event, and the Reverend Fred Phelps came to Traverse City to protest in front of our places of worship and tell us that we are all going to hell.

The Phelps Klan, of Wesboro Baptist Church view on American Soldiers who gave their lives for our country. His group was invited to Traverse City a decade ago by anti-equality advocates | SEE PHOTOS

Organizations such as “Hate Free TC” and “We Are Traverse City [WEBSITE]” were born out of this climate of anger, hatred, intolerance, and fear. Leaders in our 'people of faith' community and countless numbers of good citizens worked tirelessly to advocate for and to protect the growing diversity of people who choose to call Northern Michigan home. Our combined efforts soundly defeated a city Proposal that would have required the city to permanently discriminate against people who actually are, or are perceived to be, lesbian, gay or bisexual.

Here we find ourselves a decade later, the economy in a mess, joblessness near an all time high, bullying against minorities, students, and gay citizens are increasing, and Traverse City's Paul Nepote, is back at it again. This time he has circulated petitions to force the “Traverse City Equal Opportunity Ordinance” unanimously passed by the City Commission (Oct 2010), and widely supported throughout the community, onto the ballot this November 8th. (2011) as Proposal 1, because he doesn't believe some people should be treated with the same equal rights and opportunities he enjoys.


We believe that the “Traverse City Equal Opportunity Ordinance” was thoughtfully written and thoroughly researched.

The myths and stereotypes used to support anti-gay politics have been debunked for at least a decade. Traverse City gay and lesbian citizens pay taxes, serve our community, struggle to balance work and family, raise children and care for aging parents. Their contributions and needs are no different than anyone else’s. The majority of Americans understand this. There is absolutely no legitimate reason to continue to deny gay and lesbian couples and individuals the legal security, rights and responsibilities our community extends to all other people. Support your neighbors and friends and community values.

In passing the "Equal Opportunity Ordinance," Traverse City took a tremendous step toward recognizing our common humanity and ending an egregious injustice against thousands of good, loving, committed people who simply want the protections, rights and responsibilities afforded to all other citizens.

We are each different—one individual, from the other. The real challenge in our community is overcoming bigotry, and intolerance; always endeavoring to remove barriers to full citizenship whenever we are able and to work to assure liberty and justice for all. Love of community is based on shared values and ideals that define us as a people.


Please vote YES on Proposal 1, this November 8. Thankyou.


In Support of the Traverse City Equal Opportunity Ordinance
City of Traverse City

FacebookOctober 04, 2010—At the regular City Commission meeting Mary Van Valin grew emotional as she stood at a podium to address the Traverse City Commission. "I have a dream that this community will stand on the side of love, not fear," Valin said Monday night.

Van Valin got her wish when the City Commissioners unanimously approved the Equal Opportunity Ordinance.

Equal Opportunity for the residents of Traverse City will be decided at the ballot box on November 8, 2011. Please vote.




Opposing the Traverse City Equal Opportunity Ordinance
Paul Nepote, et all

October 05, 2010—Paul Nepote filed notice of a Referendum Petition that he circulated for signatures, which reads: We, the undersigned registered voters of the City of Traverse City, under and by virtue of the authority granted by Chapter XV of the Traverse City Charter, do hereby protest against the following ordinance taking effect and petition your submission of said ordinance to the registered voters of the City of Traverse City, County of Grand Traverse, State of Michigan.



Traverse City Equal Opportunity Ordinance

No person shall adopt, enforce or employ any policy or requirement which has the effect of creating unequal opportunities according to actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, height, weight, family status, sexual orientation, marital status, physical or mental disability, or gender identity, for a person to obtain housing, employment or public accommodation.

Equal Opportunity for the residents of Traverse City will be decided at the ballot box on November 8, 2011. Please vote.



Protect Liberty and Justice for All

October 06, 2010—The “TC Equality” group and this web site came into being more than a year ago for the purpose of preserving and protecting equal opportunity and equal protection in Traverse City. We appreciate your assistance.

Please share your time and resources freely. Help support the cost of protecting and preserving equal opportunity in our community. Every dollar you are able to contribute, and any time you are able to donate is deeply appreciated.

Your receipt will read
"Utopian Empire Creativeworks"

Contact us at :
TC Equality
PO Box 9
Traverse City, MI 49685-0009

Please make checks payable to:
We Are Traverse City
attn: TC Equality

Vote Yes



We are each entitled to our opinion,
and we are each also entitled to our version of “the truth,”
but we are NOT entitled to our own personal version of “facts.”

This web site represents a collaboration among professional researchers, academics, historians, scholars, theologians, and concerned community members. All electronic citations are hyperlinked back to the original source. All print citations are appropriately indicated, whenever possible to assure you of the credibility and quality of information.

Dear media professionals, researchers, ministers, pastors, rabbis, priests, a'immah, lawyers, neighbors, friends, information recyclers and every other visitor to these pages: We wish to take this opportunity to point out, just in case it was not already totally and most glaringly obvious, that the citations, opinions, and research expressed herein, may, or may not, reflect our own beliefs and viewpoints, or those of our collaborators, supporters, detractors, disinterested, chronic malcontents, web hosts, agents, our registrar, family members, friends, assigns, particular person or entity. Viewpoints expressed and cited herein remain exclusively the sole responsibility of their author or authors.

Web Site Design ©2011 Utopian Empire Creativeworks
Web Site Hosting generously donated by "We Are Traverse City"
TC Equality was established 06-October 2010
Terms of Use | Principals of Ethics and Conduct