Human Rights Campaign Applauds Governor Gretchen Whitmer for Establishing LGBTQ+ Commission, Continuing Historic Progress For LGBTQ+ Rights in Michigan

by HRC Staff

Lansing, MICHIGAN — The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — commends Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer for establishing an LGBTQ+ commission.

Gretchen Whitmer has been and continues to be a champion for LGBTQ+ Michiganders. From her first days in office when she prohibited the use of state funds for so-called “conversion therapy” to signing into law a bipartisan amendment to the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act earlier this year, the Governor has relentlessly led Michigan toward progress. This commission is just another example of her and our elected officials’ commitment to LGBTQ+ rights.”

Kelley Robinson, Human Rights Campaign President

As we celebrate Pride, we must continue taking action to ensure that everyone has the freedom to be who they are in Michigan,” said Governor Whitmer. “That’s why I am establishing the LGBTQ+ Commission to focus on health, safety, economic opportunity, and talent retention for the LGBTQ+ community. This issue is personal for me, and I will fight like hell to bring more diverse voices into the decision-making process so we can build a brighter future for every Michigander. While other states are engaged in the business of bigotry, Michigan is standing up for the LGBTQ+ community.”

Gretchen Whitmer, Michigan Governor

Today, Equality Michigan applauds Governor Gretchen Whitmer for establishing an LGBTQ+ commission. Since taking office, Governor Whitmer has taken repeated action to protect Michigan's LGBTQ+ community. In addition to issuing a proclamation marking June as Pride Month, Whitmer was the first governor in Michigan to fly the Pride Flag. From protecting minors from conversion therapy to strengthening protections against discrimination in state employment through executive actions, as well as signing Senate Bill 4 reaffirming civil rights protections for sexual orientation and expanding coverage to include gender identity, Governor Whitmer has proven herself to be a staunch ally and fierce protector of LGBTQ+ Michiganders."

Erin Knott, Equality Michigan Executive Director

Earlier this year Governor Whitmer signed into law a bipartisan amendment to the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA) that explicitly includes protections for sexual orientation and gender identity. This was the first statewide law in Michigan to prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ+ people, and is a repudiation against extremist lawmakers waging an anti-LGBTQ+ culture war across the country.

This amended civil rights law is not only due to decades of organizing by pro-LGBTQ+ groups and activists, it’s a direct result of the will of Michigan voters in the 2022 midterm elections, who rejected a dangerous, anti-LGBTQ+ campaign by radical politicians. Passage of the ELCRA amendment is proof that the attempt to win voters by using LGBTQ+ people as a wedge issue is a failing strategy - voters are not falling for it.

Across the country and in Michigan, election deniers and right-wing extremists lost winnable elections in battleground states because they advocated views that are out-of-touch with average voters. Not only did this result in a wave of historic victories for LGBTQ+ candidates, women, and candidates of color, but it also denied extremists the so-called “red wave” they were banking on — sending a clear message that embracing hate and disinformation are not a long term, sustainable path to victory.

In contrast to Michigan’s pro-equality progress, HRC is currently tracking more than 520 anti-LGBTQ+ bills in state houses across the country.

Since 2018, HRC has had a dedicated team in Michigan working to grow HRC’s grassroots army and show political strength in the legislature and at the ballot box. With support from HRC members, we engage with state lawmakers and lobbyists to boost pro-equality legislation and defeat harmful bills, recruit and train volunteers, mobilize constituents to support or oppose legislation in Lansing, and turn out the 1.1 million Equality Voters in Michigan in support of pro-equality candidates up and down the ballot.

In the 2022 midterm elections, mobilization efforts of the Hate Won’t Win coalition, made up of Equality Michigan, HRC, ACLU, community centers and other organizations across the state, helped re-elect Governor Whitmer and elect a pro-equality legislative majority, resulting in movement on the ELCRA amendment for the first time in 40 years.

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