BY BTL STAFF
MICHIGAN – A broad, bipartisan coalition of organizations, businesses, lawmakers, grassroots activists, members of the LGBT community and concerned residents from across the state have joined together to launch a new statewide grassroots campaign with one clear goal.
Freedom Michigan will work to update the state’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA) to protect Michigan citizens from discrimination.
“No hardworking American, including those who are gay or transgender, should have to live in fear that they can be fired for reasons that have nothing to do with their job performance or qualifications,” the site reads.
In Michigan it is still legal to discriminate against members of the LGBT community for simply being themselves, which includes hiring and/or firing practices as well as housing protections.
According to the Human Rights Commission, 18 states in the country have protections for gender identity and sexual orientation and only 21 states have protections for just sexual orientation. There is no current federal law that consistently protects LGBT individuals from employment discrimination.
The fight for full inclusions without a religious exemption in ELCRA started this past week as lawmakers introduced legislation with only sexual orientation protections. A religious exemption was added later that week.
This type of legislature is bad for business and bad for Michigan as “we compete with other states for talented, well-educated and working employees to help drive Michigan’s economic comeback,” the Freedom Michigan site reads.
Coalition partners for the group include the ACLU, the ACLU of Michigan, Affirmations, American Unity Fund, Equality Michigan, Gill Action, the Human Rights Campaign, Kalamazoo Gay and Lesbian Resource Center, KICK, the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion, the Ruth Ellis Center and Unity Michigan.
Michiganders can help do their part by volunteering with the group and speaking face-to-face with other residents in their local area on the importance of updating the non-discrimination law in the state.
Residents can also contact their legislators through the system provided on the site.
Staying connected is key for any grassroots campaign. Visit the Freedom Michigan Facebook Page at http://www.facebook.com/freedommichigan or their Twitter page at https://twitter.com/freedommichigan to stay up to date and connected with the latest push to grant Michigan full citizen protections under the state civil rights law.