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Legislature’s Agenda Full Of Potholes

By | 2015-05-21T09:00:00-04:00 May 21st, 2015|Opinions, Viewpoints|

The Republican controlled state legislature is so upset at the prospect of marriage equality that they have abandoned their legislative responsibilities and instead have focused on attacking LGBT people and their rights — again!
State legislators failed miserably to pass a road bill last year, and voters spanked them in the May 5 special election for not doing their job. We had hoped the Republican controlled legislature would have received the message that the people of Michigan want them to get to work on important things like fixing the roads, ensuring quality education for all children and addressing issues of mass transit.
But no. Our hope is dashed. They just don’t get it.
Instead, Republicans are going after LGBT people – our civil rights, our families and our ability to adopt children.
The most recent effort in the state House would have stripped away all the protections currently extended to LGBT people via local civil rights ordinances. There are now 38 local cities, towns and municipalities that extend protections to their LGBT citizens, but House Bill 4052 introduced earlier this month by state Rep. Earl Poleski, R-Jackson, sought to limit all local ordinances to the protections currently under Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, and no more. In other words — no LGBT protections. After strenuous protests, the bill was amended to allow the local civil rights ordinances to stand — for now.
The Michigan Religious Freedom Restoration Act (HB 5958) recently passed by the House is identical to the discriminatory RFRA bill passed in Indiana that sparked a maelstrom of protests from businesses, governmental agencies and mainstream media across the nation. Thankfully, Gov. Snyder announced he would not sign it unless it included protections for LGBT people, and since that was apparently the whole point of the bill, its sponsors have lost their enthusiasm for its passage.
A three-bill package that passed out of the Senate Families Seniors and Human Services Committee would let faith-based adoption agencies refuse to allow LGBT prospective parents to adopt. It is now moving to the Senate for a full vote.
As a Michigan citizen, I am outraged that precious time and tax dollars are being squandered by a legislature that appears more interested in making life miserable for LGBT people than making life better for all Michiganians. As an LGBT person, it saddens me deeply that elected officials see me and my community as some sort of scary threat that must be controlled.
The possibility of full marriage equality may anger legislators who “hold deep religious objections,” but that does not give them permission to abdicate their primary responsibility to govern the state. We call on the state legislature to get back to the people’s business and stop attacking LGBT people.

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