Michigan ballot initiative could protect LGBTQ

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Michigan State Capitol (Image by Jason Gillman from Pixabay)

LANSING — Michigan activists have started working on a ballot initiative that would at LGBTQ protections for housing, employment and other forms of discrimination.

News website MLive.com reported Tuesday that the initiative would amend the state’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, which currently protects people from discrimination based on religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, familial status, or marital status.

Called the Fair and Equal Michigan, the initiative would re-define the word “sex” in the law to include sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. The site also reported that it would also define “religion” to include the religious beliefs of an individual.

“When I co-sponsored Michigan’s Civil Rights Act in 1973 with Rep. Daisy Elliott, it was about treating everybody equally, especially in employment, housing and our most basic of services; it is long past the time to recognize sexual orientation and gender identity,” said former state representative Mel Larsen in a statement to MLive.

The effort also has backing from corporations including DTE Energy, Consumers Energy, The Whirlpool Corporation and Herman Miller.

The site said that the proponents would also be perfectly happy for the state legislature to amend the law.

“After waiting 37 years, this effort gives the legislature eight additional months to pass these basic human rights,” Trevor Thomas, Co-Chair and President of Fair and Equal Michigan and Board Chair for Equality Michigan Action, told MLive. “If they can’t get the job done, our Constitution affords Michiganders the right to vote to ensure that workers are judged on the job they do, not who they are or who they love.”

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