"Michigan stands united to bring LGBTQ rights into law for the first time. Our grassroots of nearly 500,000 people and the submission of signatures in a pandemic stems from the decades of changing hearts and minds by the Michiganders who have shared their story with their family and friends of who they are and who they love," said Fair and Equal Michigan Co-Chair Trevor Thomas. "We have never forgotten and deeply admire the activists and leaders who charged ahead of us including Rep. Jim Dressel, Rep. Daisy Elliott, and Rep. Mel Larsen. Their courage made this moment possible as we continue the work of making sure everyone has an equal chance to succeed."
Michigan law requires 340,047 valid signatures to be submitted to bring a citizen's bill in front of the state legislature. Fair and Equal Michigan turned in 483,461 signatures for its petition today. Once the Board of State Canvassers certifies the petitions as valid, Michigan lawmakers will have 40 days to either pass the legislation or send the issue to voters in the 2022 General Election.
In June of this year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of LGBTQ rights in a case brought by Michigan resident Aimee Stephens. The ruling, however, applies narrowly to federal employment covered by the U.S. Civil Rights Act. By amending Michigan's Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, Fair and Equal Michigan's initiative will provide broader protections in the areas of local employment, housing and public accommodations.
"Michigan's lack of anti-discrimination protections gives LGBTQ people a distinct disadvantage in Michigan and allows us to be legally treated as second class citizens. No one should be discriminated against based on what they look like or who they love. This citizen's bill, which has the backing of nearly half a million people, will ensure everyone in this state has an equal chance to succeed," said Fair and Equal Michigan Co-Chair Dr. Mira Jourdan.
The Fair and Equal Michigan campaign has amassed robust support from leaders and organizations across the state since its launch in January. Its honorary leadership committee includes LGBTQ advocates, business executives, former state Democratic and Republican party chairs as well as the original author of the state civil rights law, former GOP State Rep. Mel Larsen. Organizations endorsing or financially supporting the initiative include:
Business Leaders for Michigan
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
Carpenters and Joiners of America
Detroit Regional Chamber
Equality Michigan Action
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
Jackson National Life
Michigan Education Association
National Organization for Women