Civil Rights Groups Praise Whitmer

Civil rights groups are celebrating a new directive from Governor Gretchen Whitmer that bans discrimination against LGBTQ people who work for the state or its contractors, or who service state properties. The directive specifically forbids discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Erin Knott, with the group Equality Michigan, tells us the move will affect thousands of people.

“Executive-branch employees aren’t going to have to worry about discrimination hurting their ability to support themselves, conservation officers can’t harass same-sex partners if they are camping in our state parks later this summer, or MDOT-contracted construction companies, for example, won’t be allowed to discriminate in the hiring of LGBT workers.”

Whitmer’s move is consistent with the position taken last May by the Michigan Civil Rights Commission, which interpreted the state’s existing prohibition on sex discrimination to include sexual orientation and gender identity. However, current state law — specifically the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act — does not include LGBTQ protections in its ban on discrimination in employment, housing, education, and in public accommodations and services.