As the Boy Scouts considered an historic (and long overdue) elimination of their ban on gay scouts and leaders, the Michigan Department of Civil Rights released its report on LGBT Inclusion Under Michigan Law. The report contains shocking and compelling stories from gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals across Michigan who have faced discrimination in the workplace, schools and housing. The study concludes that there is indisputable evidence of alarming rates of LGBT discrimination in the state and outlines the negative economic impact discrimination has not only on LGBT residents, but also on employers and students in Michigan.
Whatever your personal opinion about sexual orientation and gender identity, legalized discrimination against LGBT individuals must end. Just as we did with women and then people of color, we have learned that discrimination against people on the basis of who they love has no foundation in science, law or morality. Discrimination against gays and lesbians is unjust and should be made illegal.
The Report called for the expansion of laws that protect people from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity/expression in employment, housing, and the full and equal utilization of public accommodations, public service and educational facilities. The current nondiscrimination clause used by the City of Midland Human Resources Department “considers all applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap or disability, or status as a Vietnam-era or special disabled veteran in accordance with federal law.” I call on our city officials to be proactive and take the steps needed to add “sexual orientation and gender identity/expression” to its nondiscrimination clauses for hiring, for contracts, or for any other public use.
Let’s join other progressive communities in Michigan, like our neighbors in Mount Pleasant, and support this action.