Clerk approves petitions for rights referendum

ROYAL OAK (AP) -- Royal Oak's city clerk has certified the signatures on petitions to force a referendum on a new gay rights ordinance in the Detroit suburb.

Fred Birchard submitted petitions Tuesday with 1,226 signatures seeking repeal of the law that Royal Oak's City Commission approved on a 6-1 vote March 4. WWJ-AM says the city clerk determined Wednesday that the necessary 746 signatures were valid.

That means that the commission must either repeal the law or let voters in the northern Detroit suburb of 57,000 decide its fate in November.

The law wouldn't take effect until after the vote.

Birchard led the successful 2001 campaign to block a similar law in 2001. Public acceptance of gay rights has grown since then.

Published: Fri, Apr 5, 2013