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The Alcona County Board of Commissioners is asking Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to rescind her recent executive directive signed on Monday, Jan. 7 to strengthen protections for the LGBTQ community.
According to The Alpena News, the board unanimously passed a resolution on Wednesday, Jan. 16 asserting that, in signing the executive order, the governor “circumvented the legislative process” and that her actions undermined legislators in the state House of Representatives and state Senate, who work to represent the people.
Whitmer’s directive outlines that it will help instill policies to “promote public confidence in the fairness and integrity of state government” by ensuring all Michigan residents receive fair treatment in “employment, state contracting and when accessing services from state government.” It does not include an exemption for religious organizations that receive state money.
The board’s resolution also reportedly states that the legislature has not expanded Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to include the “re-definition of sex.” However, a new interpretation of the law issued by the Michigan Civil Rights Commission last year, states the word “sex” in the law means not only gender but also sexual orientation and gender identity.
Copies of the resolution will be sent to state Rep. Sue Allor (R-Wolverine), state Sen. Jim Stamas (R-Midland), Whitmer and the other 82 counties in the state.
In response to the board’s decision, Erin Knott, interim executive director at Equality Michigan said, “I agree that the legislature should act without further delay to expand the Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act to include sexual orientation and gender identity. There is no doubt that both Gov. Whitmer and the Michigan Civil Rights Commission acted within their lawful authority. I would encourage the board to follow Gov. Whitmer’s lead and act to protect Alcona County employees from discrimination.”
There is an online petition circulating in opposition to the board’s decision.
“As families, business owners, and stakeholders in NE Michigan, we oppose this action of the Alcona County Commission Board which will have a negative impact on our community as a whole,” the petition states. “In order for this northeastern Michigan region to grow and prosper, we must protect the rights and dignity of all residents in our region. We urge the Commission to reconsider this detrimental decision. Please sign our petition to be delivered to the Alcona County Commission Board on February 6th, 2019.”