Commissioners speak out after LGBT discrimination ban is voted down

An ordinance to protect the LGBT community from discrimination while working for Bay County was voted down, by a 4-3 vote, Tuesday night.

"I think you can take the easy way out in life, and this was an example of taking the easy way out," said Kim Coonan, (D) 4th District Commissioner.

Those against the ordinance tell NBC25 itâ??s because the same goal can be accomplished by changing the countyâ??s discrimination policy.

"It would elevate this other group to a higher level of standard," said Vaughn Begick, (R) 3rd District Commissioner.

Those who voted for the ordinance are frustrated because they believe itâ??s what the community wants.

â??It's only an issue with a small minority of vocal people who have possibly lived in a vacuum and they just don't tolerate diversity,â?? said Coonan.

For those who supported the ordinance a policy change isnâ??t exactly what they wanted, but they say it's still a step in the right direction.

"I think the discussion was very good and it created some awareness throughout the community,â?? said Coonan.

Begick, on the other hand, thinks the past three months weren't productive.

"I'm sort of concerned about all the time we spent on it. I'm sure we spent a lot of money on it for something we could have solved a lot easier," said Begick.

Adding the LGBT community to the county's existing discrimination policy would achieve the same goal for county employees, but Coonan says this goes beyond bay county.

"It needs to be done at a statewide level and the only way you're going to get it done at the statewide level is to get a groundswell of support throughout the state and pressure the elected officials in Lansing to adopt this policy," said Coonan.

For now, Coonan says he would still vote for the policy change if it was presented.