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Michigan activists launch new effort to stop LGBTQ discrimination

Michigan begin the era of anti-discrimination at the forefront of the nation. The Civil Rights Act passed in Lansing in 1976, banning discrimination based on religion, color, gender and a variety of other protected attributes. But many activists have said the Wolverine State did not go far enough, and 2020 may be the year that this mission is accomplished.

A coalition of advocates, including business leaders and legislators, have begun the process of getting a ballot measure in the 2020 election that would let voters decide to add a clause against discrimination based on sexual orientation. The group has until May 27 to gather more than 300,000 signatures from Michigan voters in order to present the measure on the ballot this year.

"It is long past the time to recognize sexual orientation and gender identity," said the former representative who sponsored the original Michigan Civil Rights Act. "The Legislature can act at any time to amend the civil rights act. This coalition of Michigan citizens has support across LGBTQ groups, the business and philanthropic sectors, and both sides of the political aisle. There is more that brings us together than forces us apart."

This effort has progressed before but never got close to becoming a law. An attempt at a ballot measure in 2016 failed when groups could not agree on the timing of their proposal. Some headway was made in 2018 when the outgoing governor signed an executive order providing some protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Harassment and discrimination in the workplace should not be tolerated. An attorney can help investigate a case of discrimination and determine if it should be the subject of a civil lawsuit for financial damages or other results to protect victims.

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