Michigan’s LGBT population under attack again as legislators attempt to roll back local anti-discrimination ordinances across the State

Despite what Republicans have said, it was never just about stopping gay marriage in Michigan. Their end goal has always been the criminalization of homosexuality. This became abundantly clear earlier this week, when State Representative Earl Poleski proposed legislation that would stop local governments, like Ypsilanti, from passing anti-discrimination legislation to protect their LGBT citizens. While the proposed bill – HB 4052 – does not explicitly mention protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender workers, the intent seems clear. The Republicans are once again attempting to give the bigots of Michigan the right to discriminate against individuals they see as being unfit to work and live alongside them. The following comes from today’s Huffington Post.

There are 22 states with laws banning discrimination against LGBT individuals; Michigan is not one of them. Cities and towns there that want to protect their LGBT workers have had to pass their own laws. As of March, 37 Michigan municipalities had measures prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity or both, according to Equality Michigan.

HB 4052 would effectively nullify these local measures.

Making matters worse, the bill would also “bar local governments from enacting worker protections that are stronger than state or federal laws already on the books,” according to the Huffington Post.

There is good news, tough. The bill has not yet left committee, which means that there’s still a chance that it could be killed before it makes it to the floor of the Michigan House for a vote. According to State Representative Jeff Irwin, there will likely be a committee hearing next week, during which there will probably be a vote. “If one Republican Rep on the committee opposes the bill, and the two Democrats on the committee vote no,” says Irwin, “it will be stopped for the time being.” So, we need to make sure that one Republican on the committee votes no.

If you have the time today, please contact the Representatives on the committee and urge them to vote no on HB 4052. A list of committee members can be found here.

It really sucks that we have to keep fighting this same fight over and over again, but apparently the right refuses to give up what they see as their god-given right to discriminate. As you’ll recall, this fight started over a decade ago, when Ypsi first amended its Charter to protect individuals from discrimination based on sexual orientation. At that time, as you may remember, local pizza baron Tom Monaghan poured a lot of money into a disgusting, fear-based campaign, which, thankfully, the voters of Ypsilanti saw through… Here’s one of Monaghan’s postcards from that campaign, which should give you a sense of what we’re up against.


If you can’t read the text, here’s what it says:

Will you vote YES to protect your daughter… your granddaughter… from being forced to use the girl’s bathroom with men like this?

When this man tried to join a women’s health club in Lansing, he was refused. But in Ypsilanti, homosexual activists’ deceptive campaign put new language in our city law making it illegal for any school, business, or other public place to ‘discriminate’ based on so-called ‘gender identity.’

Now, under city law, a grown man who claims to be female has the special right to use ‘any place’ usually reserved for women and girls.

If you agree it’s wrong to give cross-dressing men the special right to violate the privacy rights of others, especially women and children, please vote YES on the YPSILANTI CITY CHARTER AMENDMENT to remove this dangerous language from our city civil rights law.

So, don’t be fooled when they say now that it’s just about gay marriage, and the “right” of Christian pizza makers not to supply food to same-sex weddings. It’s never just been about that. It’s about demonizing homosexuals, and giving conservatives the right to discriminate against them.

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  1. Anonymous
    Posted May 15, 2015 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    They will not be satisfied until you are able to keep gays out of your place of business.

  2. tommy
    Posted May 15, 2015 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    Been meaning to do this early on for every topic that addresses anything thing the religious right finds objectionable:

    Fuck you, EOS

  3. Lynne
    Posted May 15, 2015 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    Man, these white dudes sure are going out of their way to preserve all of their privilege aren’t they?

  4. Quinn
    Posted May 15, 2015 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been told I’m in the “wrong bathroom” with some regularity since age 15, even when I abide by “the rules”. After the second or third time I was told I was in the wrong bathroom at the EMU REC-IM this year I stopped using the bathrooms there. I don’t use gym locker rooms, because some people feel like I owe them an explanation for my existence. It’s exhausting.

    41% of people who are transgender or gender-nonconforming have attempted suicide sometime in their lives, nearly nine times the national average.

    There have been at least 11 murders of transgender people in the U.S. so far this year. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_unlawfully_killed_transgender_people

  5. Thom Elliott
    Posted May 15, 2015 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    No no, don’t you understand? It is *discrimination* to disallow militant christianist ‘prayer warriors’ from legally enforcing a single, rigidly demarcated ‘heterosexuality’, which is totally at odds with the human sexuality actually found in the world *tout court*. You’re free to select which kind of monolithic masculinist heterosexism you prefer. That is the very definition of our pallid Americanist “freedom”; you have the *absolute* freedom to select the pre-approved identity the most viciously cynical members of society decide for you to select, and nothing else.

  6. Posted May 15, 2015 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    If you’ve got friends or family who live in those Reps’ districts, they do like to hear from locals.

    Chair Ed McBroom represents Escanaba, Iron Mountain, and Menominee

    Majority Vice-Chair Howrylak represents Clawson and Troy

    Representative Graves represents Fenton and tonwships surrounding Flint

    Representative Theis is pretty local, representing Brighton and surrounding townships

  7. Andy
    Posted May 15, 2015 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    After posting I went back and read HB 4052 again. I am not an attorney, but I don’t see where the intent of this bill is to discriminate against the LGBT community.

    I still believe the intent of this bill is to not allow the 1700 or so local municipalities to create their own minimum wage and benefit laws. I think there can be an honest debate as to whether or not wage and benefit laws should be established by the state and federal government or if every municipality should be empowered to create their own laws.

    If there is an unintended consequence to HB 4052 that removes local anti-discrimination laws I would encourage the committee to fix the bill and keep those protections.


  8. Frosted Flakes
    Posted May 16, 2015 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    The intent of HB 4052 seems to be a more general attack on local democracy. Like Andy suggests, I am not sure why we are narrowly focusing entirely on the ways HB 4052 effect the LGBT community. When I read through HB 4052 I was thinking about how HB 4052 would void/ make local minimum wage and benefits laws illegal and how it would make would effect local governments that wanted to pass local environment protections. Puzzled by the narrow focus….

  9. Demetrious
    Posted May 16, 2015 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    Once all the gays are gone – along with with all the artists, musicians, union thugs, Science-believers, non-conformists, and non-Christians – Michissippi will finally be the paradise that “God” intended.

  10. Maria Huffman
    Posted May 16, 2015 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    Usually the narrow focus allows it to be passed through. If some bill says no local law can be tougher or broader or whatever than state or national law, it helps the state and nation be less challenged legally…One less set of entities to contest a state or national law.

  11. Posted May 16, 2015 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    I noted in the post that the effect would do more than just nullify local anti-discrimination measures. It would, as I pointed out, also stop communities from setting minimum wage rates higher than those passed at the state level. And, would would imagine, it would stop local governments from passing more stringent environmental laws. I chose to focus on the anti-discrimination component, though, because my sense is that it’s the main motivator. Republicans in the Michigan House do not like liberal communities circumventing them, as they have with regard to LGBT rights. But, yeah, there’s a lot more to it than just that.

  12. Maria Huffman
    Posted May 16, 2015 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    Well, I tend to think local, and I think it is a way to shut down active communities like Ann Arbor and Ypsi, because these are not just your average cities but places where new ideas get put out there and tested.

  13. Posted May 17, 2015 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    The tinfoil hat crowd might think this is a bait and switch campaign to encourage conservatives to vote for a pro-regulation measure like this. Only gay fear will put lines at the polls. One might even suggest that you fell for their trap, by giving this the journalistic coverage they crave. Thus, you become the con. Only by gnawing one’s own political leg off by ignoring this nonsense attack on civil liberties, can we prevail.

  14. Meta
    Posted May 17, 2015 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    This isn’t the only legislation targeting Michigan’s LGBT community.

    From The Advocate:

    Michigan has two other anti-LGBT bills currently pending a vote: “The Michigan Religious Freedom Restoration Act” (HB 5958), which is similar to the controversial RFRA passed and subsequently amended in Indiana, and a three-bill package that would allow for faith-based adoption agencies to refuse to serve prospective parents based on their religious beliefs. That bill passed out of the Senate Families Seniors and Human Services Committee in March, and is currently awaiting scheduling for a vote by the full Michigan Senate.

    Read more:

  15. Meta
    Posted May 20, 2015 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    The bill passed out of committee after language that would have undone local protections for LGBT people was removed.

    More than 30 Michigan United protesters interrupted a House Commerce and Trade Committee hearing today over HB 4052, which they say is a “Death Star” bill for Michigan communities. The bill passed despite the interruption.

    The bill is a re-introduction of a concept first discussed in December, which aimed to ban local communities from stepping into the employee-employer relationship by establishing ordinances for things like mandatory sick leave or wage levels. However, one draft of the bill included language that may have undone local protections for LGBT people.

    Bill sponsor Rep. Earl Poleski, R-Jackson, said a newer version removed that from the bill.

    “The discrimination ordinances became something of a distraction,” Poleski said, reiterating that he felt the state’s anti-discrimination ordinances were adequate.

    It was that version that the committee voted out 11-7-1, with Rep. Mike Callton, R-Nashville, passing.

    But getting there was a little unorthodox — Michigan United is a progressive, community-based advocacy group. It had a legislative day planned and brought more than 30 people to protest the bill.

    Read more:

One Trackback

  1. […] gay rights against the likes of Tom Monaghan. I know the fight’s not over by a long shot, as the state keeps trying to roll back human rights protections, but it certainly feels like we’ve come one hell of a long way here in Ypsi. I mean, I […]

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