Oakland County govt, native legislator again further LGBTQ protections in Elliott Larsen Civil Rights Act

Dave Coulter, Oakland County Executive, speaks at an inauguration ceremony for the Oakland County Parks and Recreation Department in 2020. Coulter recently sponsored additional protection for LGBTQ residents under the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act.


SOUTHFIELD – The Elliott Larsen Civil Rights Act, which came into effect in 1976, prohibits discrimination in Michigan based on race, religion, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, marital status and marital status in employment, housing, education, and access to public housing.

Senator Jeremy Moss, D-Southfield, and Rep. Laurie Pohutsky, D-Livonia, lead the indictment and have tabled bills to extend civil rights protection to the LGBTQ community.

Support for the additional legislation extends from both sides of the aisle and includes Governor Gretchen Whitmer. Included are Senator Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City; Rep. Tommy Brann, R-Wyoming; and Rep. Tim Sneller, D-Burton.

“Passing this bill amending the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act would bring Michigan in line with other states to become a nationwide model of equality,” Whitmer said in a statement. “As a country, we’ve come a long way to tackle discrimination based on sexual orientation and identity, but we need to anchor critical safeguards that a majority of Michigandans support in our state’s laws.”

In Oakland County, the additions were endorsed by Dave Coulter, the first openly gay man elected to Oakland statewide. Coulter noted that the effort to expand civil rights law has been a decades-long struggle that now deserves action.

“I’m not sure the average person in Michigan understands that you can get fired for being gay,” said Coulter. “You can be evicted from your home because you are gay. These are fundamental rights that I believe should be extended to all people in our state. For those Michigandans interviewed on this matter, the vast majority believe that these are fundamental rights that should be extended to everyone. “

A study conducted at the Williams Institute, a think tank at the University of California Los Angeles Law School, found that LGBTQ-inclusive non-discrimination policies and work atmospheres led to work commitments, better work relationships, better health outcomes, and higher job satisfaction. Michigan’s own civil rights ministry issued a report saying that LGBTQ discrimination has a direct negative economic impact on the state.

“As other states enact LGBTQ protections and our leaders in Congress work to get them into federal law, we in Michigan are still sitting on the sidelines sending the wrong signal about our priorities and values ​​to those who want to live or do business here . ” Moss said in a statement. “We shouldn’t have to wait any longer. We need to show Michigan is a welcoming state where anyone can call home safely. “

Coulter said he was encouraged by the fact that the amendment could potentially be on the vote, but expressed concerns about putting people’s basic human rights to the vote. He also applauded Moss and Pohutsky for taking the lead from a legislative perspective.

“This is right for our LGTBQ residents who deserve this protection as well as for the economic well-being of Oakland County,” said Coulter. “Our employers found out long before our government. If you want to attract a talented and skilled workforce, it must be inclusive and equal. “


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