Press Release: Howell and Portage Become Latest Communities to Prohibit Discrimination

EQMI-new-logo-verticalFor Immediate Release


Contact: L. Michael Gipson, MS
Organization: Equality Michigan
Telephone: 313-537-7000 ext. 105
Forty Michigan cities and townships now ban anti-LGBTQ discrimination


Detroit, MI — Since neither state nor federal law currently prohibits anti-LGBTQ discrimination, Michigan communities have been stepping up to fill the gap and protect their LGBTQ residents and visitors for many years. This week, the cities of Howell and Portage joined the growing list of local units of government in Michigan that have adopted comprehensive nondiscrimination ordinances. All told, there are now 40 Michigan cities and townships with ordinances prohibiting discrimination based on both sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, and public accommodations. An additional five communities provide some form of partial protection for LGBTQ people. Equality Michigan lauded the passage of these ordinances.


“Howell and Portage are to be commended for standing up for equality and fairness and against discrimination,” said Equality Michigan Executive Director Stephanie White. “These cities recognize that building communities in Michigan that are inclusive and welcoming to all is not only the right thing to do, but also an economic imperative for our state.”


In Portage, major local employers, including Pfizer and the Kellogg Company, supported the nondiscrimination ordinance. Pfizer Director of Government Relations Daniel Wolter wrote in a letter to the City Council, “extending civil rights and non-discrimination protections for LGBT individuals is both the right thing to do and would represent a meaningful step forward for the community of Portage.” John Bryant, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Kellogg Company, wrote to the Council in support of the ordinance and noted that allowing “business owners license to refuse service to people because of their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression [is], quite simply, unacceptable.”


While more than two million Michiganders are now protected by local nondiscrimination ordinances, millions more remain unprotected. In Michigan, it’s now possible for an LGBTQ couple to get married on Sunday and fired for it on Monday. That situation is untenable and unacceptable. The adoption of ordinances by Howell and Portage is a stark reminder of state inaction on legislation to amend the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to include sexual orientation and gender identity.


“Our leaders in Lansing should look to the example being set by their local government colleagues and business leaders across Michigan,” urged White. “Action on Elliott-Larsen is long overdue.”



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