Governor, Democrats Announce Bills To Expand Civil Rights Law To Include LGBTQ

There are renewed efforts at the state Capitol to expand LGBTQ rights. Lawmakers unveiled new bills Tuesday to amend the Elliott Larsen Civil Rights Act to add sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes with the backing of Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

“It’s time to get Michigan on the right side of history,” said the governor at the unveiling of the bills in her office. “In the year 2019, nobody, nobody should be fired from their job or evicted from their home based on who they love or how they identify.”

State Senator Jeremy Moss says the LGBTQ community still faces plenty of obstacles.

“You can still be fired for being gay or transgender here in Michigan. You can be denied housing or evicted just for being gay or trans here in Michigan,” said Moss, who is openly gay. “But today, we’re going to make another historic June moment in Michigan for the LGBT community because we finally have representation in both chambers for the first time.”

That representation in the House includes Representative Jon Hoadley of Portage, who is also running for the Democratic nomination to challenge Congressman Fred Upton in 2020. Hoadley says they have bipartisan backing for the change.

“We know there is a viable pathway forward, and we have a governor who if we put this on her desk, will sign these bills,” said Hoadley. “We finally have an ally who understands a very simple tenet: regardless of who you are or who you love, you should be welcome here in Michigan.”

Governor Whitmer says the state can be more competitive if it is one that respects and protects the rights of everyone. Previous efforts to expand Elliott-Larsen to include specific LGBTQ protections in the past few years have fallen short.