37 national organizations call on Michigan Lawmakers to pass Equal Rights for LGBTQ People

Michigan

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Thirty-seven national organizations joined together today to call on Michigan lawmakers to adopt the citizens’ bill for LGBTQ equality being advanced by Fair and Equal Michigan. These organizations join an already significant list of more than 20 Michigan-based businesses and organizations that joined in support of the equal rights campaign last year, along with 21 mayors representing 2 million Michigan citizens

“Michigan stands united to finally prohibit the discrimination of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people. Given the 38 years of inaction by the Legislature, more than 500,000 Michiganders signed a petition to right this wrong and compel passage of equal rights. LGBTQ people have been fired from their job, kicked out of their house, or denied basic services simply for who they are or who they love. We are witnessing a sea change toward equal rights for all, and we call upon lawmakers to be on the right side of history. The state house and senate must pass the citizens’ bill as written for a Fair and Equal Michigan ensuring all have an equal chance to succeed.”

Signed:

  • ACLU & ACLU of Michigan
  • AFL-CIO of Michigan
  • AFT Michigan
  • Anti-Defamation League
  • Campus Pride
  • Equality Federation
  • Freedom for All Americans
  • GLAAD
  • GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders
  • GLSEN
  • Human Rights Campaign  
  • Lambda Legal
  • LPAC
  • LGBTQ Victory Fund & LGBTQ Victory Institute
  • LGBT Chamber of Commerce – Detroit Regional Affiliate  
  • March for Our Lives
  • Michigan League of Conservation Voters
  • Modern Military Association of America
  • Movement Advancement Project
  • NARAL Pro-Choice America
  • National Black Justice Coalition
  • National Center for Lesbian Rights
  • National Education Association & Michigan Education Association
  • National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund
  • National LGBTQ+ Bar Association
  • National Organization for Women Michigan
  • Pride at Work
  • Rock The Vote Action Fund
  • SAGE
  • SEIU Michigan
  • TechNet
  • Transgender Law Center
  • Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund
  • Trans Sistas of Color Project
  • The TransLatin@ Coalition
  • The Trevor Project
  • True Colors United

Background:

For the first time ever, 530,000 Michigan citizens – including business, philanthropy, and leaders from both sides of the political aisle – joined LGBTQ advocacy groups to proclaim: Every Michigander should have an equal chance to succeed. The effort collected citizen signatures to introduce a bill to finally prohibit LGBTQ discrimination, make Michigan a talent attraction hub and grow Michigan jobs.

  • Current Status: Once the citizens’ petition is certified it is transmitted to the house and senate floor; no amendments are permitted. Lawmakers have limited options on the people’s bill: Pass it and it becomes immediate law without the governor’s signature or send the question to the 2022 ballot. Lawmakers cannot write over the people’s bill at a later date without 3/4ths of both house, senate and signature of governor.

 Key Milestones:

  • Held 1.2 million pro-equality, citizen conversations;
  • Collected approx. 530,000 signatures;
  • Submitted 483,461 signatures of 340,047 required by law;
  • Trained 628 volunteers;
  • Employed 230 field organizers;
  • Cultivated 1,407 individual grassroots donors who gave 3,120 times;
  • Raised $2,932,837 despite pandemic;
  • Conducted multi-level audit process to submit best quality signatures;
  • Sued in Court to extend signature collection timeline;
  • Supported by Business Leaders for Michigan, Detroit Regional Chamber, Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Regional Chamber;
  • Supported by 21 mayors representing nearly 2 million citizens;
  • Established leadership committee of 80 Michigan leaders;

 >> The Problem: Right now in Michigan, we need state laws prohibiting discrimination in employment, housing, education, public accommodations or public services of LGBTQ people. The Michigan Civil Rights Commission confirmed it has nearly 50 LGBTQ discrimination-based cases and Equality Michigan reported over 1,000 calls for help.

>> The Complication: For 38 consecutive years, the Michigan Legislature has failed to pass a law expressly protecting LGBTQ rights. The state’s current law, the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, prohibits discrimination based upon religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, familial status, or marital status. The first LGBTQ-rights bill was introduced in 1983 by Republican Rep. Jim Dressel, a former Air Force fighter pilot from Holland, MI, who received the Distinguished Flying Cross.

>> The Solution: Fair and Equal Michigan aims to pass the first-ever LGBTQ rights law through a citizens’ bill by petition. The petition defines “sex” to include sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. Citizens’ submitted petition signatures in October 2020. The difference-maker: The Legislature is required to pass it or send the question to voters on the 2022 ballot. Lawmakers cannot vote it down. 

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