Snyder, who previously has opposed domestic partner benefits for state employees and same-sex marriage, said Thursday he supports a civil rights amendment that would make it illegal to discriminate against people based on their sexual orientation, The Detroit News reports.
“... I am glad to see that the governor is finally on board with offering basic civil rights protections to all Michigan citizens, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” Whitmer said in a statement.
The governor’s announcement came during the second day of the Mackinac Policy Conference, where the Chrysler Group, the Detroit Regional Chamber and the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce said they were joining the Michigan Competitive Workforce Coalition, which asking for an amendment to the 1976 civil rights law.
Employers backing the amendment to the decades old civil rights code say its important to help Michigan remain a competitive edge in employment, especially as the state works toward economic recovery from the Great Recession.
That coalition includes some of the state’s biggest and most influential employers, including AT&T Michigan, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Consumers Energy, Dow Chemical Co., Google, Herman Miller, PADNOS, Steelcase, Strategic Staffing Solutions and Whirlpool Corp., MLive/The Lansing News reports.
The law currently protects citizens against discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations based on their religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, familial status and marital status, but doesn’t address sexual orientation, gender identity or expression.
After Snyder’s announcement, another high-profile Republican, U.S. Senate hopeful Terri Lynn Land, said in an interview with The Detroit News that she’s on board, too.
Michigan House Speaker Jase Bolger, a Marshall Republican, told the newspaper he supports the amendment, but the challenge will be in striking a balance between protecting gays and lesbians from discrimination in the workplace while still recognizing the liberties of people who oppose homosexuality on religious grounds.
Among the chief critics of expanding the civil rights code is American Family Association of Michigan, a conservative group that challenged Bolger when he signaled support for the amendment a year ago.
The group’s president, Gary Glenn, said at the time that if the state protected gays and lesbians against discrimination in its civil rights code, it would be discriminating against others whose freedom of speech and religion rights allow them to condemn homosexuality, The Detroit News said.Tell Us:
- Do you think protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation should e added to Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act?