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Jackson officials stand by hiring of HR director who made anti-gay statements

Officials from both the city and county of Jackson are standing by their choice of a woman with a history of anti-gay statements as their shared human resources director.

Last week, officials announced the hiring of Ohio resident Crystal Dixon. She made headlines in 2008 when she was fired from the University of Toledo following the publication of an editorial she penned in which she opined that gays were not “civil rights victims.”

The Jackson Citizen Patriot reports the city and county officials have been “inundated” with e-mails.

The newspaper also notes that not only did Equality Michigan issue an action alert, as well as a petition on Change.org, but Gary Glenn of the Midland based American Family Association of Michigan sent out a notice to his supporters. In that notice, Glenn and the AFA praised Dixon for her “principled stand for family, faith and freedom.”

As Michigan Messenger reported last week, many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocates and their supporters condemned the hiring choice. Rick Davies, a former city council member, e-mailed leaders encouraging them to rescind their job offer to Dixon.

But officials say Dixon’s hiring will stand.

“We had six very capable people in the process of hiring for that position,” [Jackson Mayor Karen] Dunigan said. “They’re very qualified. I have to trust in them and their decisions.”

County board Chairman Steve Shotwell said if Dixon follows state law and county policies that prevent job discrimination, then her position on gay rights will be a non-issue.

“No one is to be treated any differently,” Shotwell said.

[Acting Jackson County Administrator Adam] Brown agreed and reiterated that she is the right person for the job.

“When she comes here she’s going to be evaluated on treating people fair and equitably,” Brown said. “We’re committed to that and she’s committed to that.”

The city of Jackson, the county and the state of Michigan have no law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The city considered a local ordinance in August of 2009, but the city council rejected the proposal on a 5-2 vote.

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