Governor Whitmer Champions Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act in State of the State Address

"Bigotry is bad for business" Governor Whitmer's 2023 State of the State adress

Gov. Whitmer doesn’t just highlight the importance of ELCRA, but calls out other states for their anti-LGBTQ+ legislation.

Yesterday, Governor Whitmer gave the annual State of the State address in Lansing, MI. Within the speech, Gov. Whitmer discussed lowering MI costs, supporting children, economic opportunity, and personal freedom. She wanted to make sure everyone, especially young people, felt like Michigan was their home, and a place people want to move to for their own freedoms. “Let’s repeal outdated laws restricting who you can marry, and let’s expand the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act.” The Governor continued, “so you can’t be fired or evicted for who you are, how you identify, or for who you love.” She also mentioned repealing the outdated law that bans same-sex marriage in Michigan. As it stands, if SCOTUS overturns Obergefell v. Hodges, same-sex marriage would become illegal in our state.

Elliot Larsen Civil Rights Act of 1976 was created to ensure equal protection in Michigan from discrimination in employment, housing, education, and public accommodations. After a landmark state Supreme Court decision last year and having a Legislature where a majority of its members support protecting the rights of LGBTQ+ people, there has been action to amend the bill to include sexual orientation and gender identity and expression as protected classes. The bill was among the first bills introduced during the 2023 session by Senator Jeremey Moss and Representative Jason Hoskins to the democratic-led legislature. Gov. Whitmer doubles down, “Our message is simple: we will fight for your freedom. And you know what? Let’s go on offense. I’ll go to any state that restricts people’s freedoms and win business and hardworking people from them. I’m looking at you, Ohio, and Indiana.”

Governor Whitmer during the State of the State address on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023, at the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing.

Expanding economic opportunities and protecting fundamental freedoms isn’t just good for Michigan, it’s good for everyone. “Discrimination has no home in our state. No Michigander should be denied basic civil rights for who they are or whom they love,” said Erin Knott, Executive Director of Equality Michigan. “Governor Whitmer and the legislature’s plan to expand the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to expand protections to LGBTQ+ people will ensure no one is denied housing or employment because of their identity or orientation.” Simply put, and in the Governor’s own words, “Bigotry is bad for business.” 
While this is exciting news for Michigan, there is still so much work left to get this amendment passed. Help us ensure that this amendment makes it through the legislature and onto her desk. Sign the petition to expand essential civil rights to LGBTQ+ Michiganders here: In the words of Gov. Whitmer, “Let’s get it done.”

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